Québec has been a fertile ground for electric vehicle innovation the past several years, particularly in the research activities of Crown corporation Hydro-Québec, which supplies electricity to the whole province.
Hydro-Québec is the only electric utility in North America with a research centre that has an annual operating budget of $100 million – the Hydro-Québec research institute (IREQ), which is world-renowned for its research in the field of electric vehicles and battery components, with more than 400 patents to its credit.
A few global leaders, based in Greater Montréal, have marketed products resulting from IREQ’s research, including:
- Bathium Canada: lithium-metal-polymer battery
- Phostech Lithium: phosphate-based cathode materials for the lithium battery market
- TM4: wheel motor (electric)
Considering the importance of this sector for Québec’s future and the Greater Montréal region, the government of Québec has implemented various strategic initiatives in recent years:
- November 2012: Announcement in the 2013-2014 Budget of a $200 million fund for transportation electrification and green technology development
- March 2012: Launch of an electric bus project by the Québec government, valued at $73 million (a major project that is part of the 2010-2013 Québec Research and Innovation Strategy)
- April 2011: Publication of the Electric Vehicles: 2011-2020 Québec Action Plan, earmarking investments of $165 million in new measures to support this sector
In addition to solid support from the Québec government throughout the years, access to a key resource – hydroelectricity – at a competitive cost has, without a doubt, significantly helped reinforce Greater Montréal’s position in the electric transportation sector. According to Hydro-Québec (2012), the metropolitan area is ranked 4th among major North American cities for the competitiveness of average electricity rates (in ¢/kWh – including taxes) for businesses requiring medium power consumption (between 500 and 2,500 kW).
Source: Montréal International, 2013
Mathieu Lefort, Senior Analyst, Direction of Economic Studies