Automotive research funding supports clean cars of the future

CFI proud to sustain automotive research at University of Waterloo and Western University
August 6, 2015

Ottawa, Ontario — The Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) is pleased to support three recipients under the Automotive Partnership Canada Fund (APC), an initiative that has provided a total of $145 million in research funding over five years to support significant, collaborative research and development activities for the benefit of the Canadian automotive industry.

Two projects at the University of Waterloo will help improve fuel efficiency: one by developing lightweight parts and the other by designing intelligent control systems. A third project at Western University will address the next generation of manufacturing.

READ: More automotive research projects supported by the CFI

A team of researchers led by Hamid Jahed at the University of Waterloo is receiving more than $216,000 in CFI funding for a four-year project to find the optimum design of automotive parts that are made of magnesium alloys and are subject a high degree of stress. Magnesium is the lightest commercial metal and this project aims to develop the knowledge and methodology needed to manufacture high-performance, lightweight magnesium suspension parts. The use of magnesium in the manufacturing of these parts would significantly reduce vehicle weight, and lead to improved ride comfort, better handling performance, greater fuel economy, and reduced greenhouse gas emissions.

Nasser Azad of the University of Waterloo has been awarded more than $460,000 in research infrastructure funding from the CFI for a four-year project focused on designing intelligent control systems to enhance the energy efficiency of plug-in hybrid and electric vehicles. This project serves to meet the ever-increasing pressures felt by automobile manufacturers to design cleaner and more fuel-efficient vehicles with improved drivability, comfort and safety.

As the automotive manufacturing industry shifts towards a mixed-materials model of metals and plastics rather than metals alone, researchers at Western University are working to develop new compression molding processes to make structural car parts out of a lightweight polymer. Jeffrey Wood and his team have been awarded more than $99,000 from the CFI for a three-year project that aims to not only establish the ability to manufacture car parts with a fibre glass called polyamide, but to also develop a process to do so that can keep up with the tight deadlines of the mainstream automotive market.