Investissement Québec at the heart of sustainable mobility
Discover how the many Quebec organizations unite to pave the way for sustainable mobility!
In August 2018, Pierre Gabriel Côté, President and Chief Executive Officer of Investissement Québec, granted an interview to discuss the state-owned corporation’s involvement in the development of sustainable mobility in Québec.
How is Investissement Québec contributing to the electric transportation revolution?
In providing financial support for businesses and acting as an agent for the Québec government, Investissement Québec plays a key role.
Under Québec’s Transportation Electrification Action Plan , a major government policy, we’re on the front lines helping companies handle challenges related to technology and, most importantly, seize the opportunities that will arise in the electric and smart vehicle niche.
For technological development and business start-ups, we’re capitalizing on our networks and our financial tools to support companies that want to meet the challenge of electrification and ensure that we successfully manage the technological shift that is so vital to our economy.
How is Québec-based innovation playing a role in the sustainable mobility industry worldwide?
Electric vehicles use the same kinds of technologies used in aerospace. In areas such as lightweight materials and leading-edge technologies, we’re promoting manufacturing 4.0 and artificial intelligence solutions, and that fits very well with what we’re already doing for aerospace.
So this niche is really a great opportunity for Québec to make its mark internationally, given that its supply chain is already adapted for the needs of transportation electrification.
How would you explain Investissement Québec’s financial involvement in ecomobility?
In the last decade, Investissement Québec has invested several billion dollars in the aerospace sector. So we already have a presence in transportation.
Where we’re fine-tuning our investments more and more, it’s to meet the needs related to the new mobility technologies. And we’re ready, thanks to what the aerospace sector has taught us about the necessary technologies – again, lightweight materials and advanced technologies. And that’s where we can play a really important role, because we’re going to continue investing substantially in the area of transportation, which will increasingly include investments in sustainable mobility. In that way, we’ll be able to maximize our impact on the supply chain and support the efforts of our entrepreneurs who are turning to new technologies.
How does Québec stand out in terms of sustainable mobility? What are its strengths?
Québec’s strengths are our companies, our entrepreneurs, our customers. Over the years, they’ve developed numerous innovative technologies that are now used by the large internationals.
And there are entrepreneurs who have come here to start businesses to meet the very specific needs of industry. Think of a company like Leddartech , which came here to develop its sensing and telemetry technologies. And Immervision has also set up shop in Québec; that company is now developing 360° video capture for dashboard cameras.
Where we stand out even more in the field of sustainable mobility is in our knowledge and expertise, which are also associated with major players. For example, through its transportation electrification policy, Hydro-Québec is supporting companies like AddÉnergie , in installing charging stations throughout Québec. Now there are almost 1,400 charging stations. These are concrete actions to simulate the use of electric vehicles. Plus, what could be better than our 99% clean, renewable energy to promote our beautiful province!
Québec has no need to envy any other place – quite the contrary. Due to its renewable electricity, our province has many assets that can underpin the successful development of this industry.
Finally, there is the green message that is also conveyed by the technology provided jointly by our entrepreneurs, who have already made a name for themselves internationally in aerospace. In my opinion, all these factors together constitute the key to success.
Regarding sustainable mobility, what stands out most for a foreign investor or company?
What stands out for a foreign investor is, first, the presence in Québec of major players such as CGI, Microsoft and Google.
Then, there are the four major government strategies to support sustainable mobility, and especially the strength of emerging technologies such as AI.
So we can see there’s some good leverage for Québec to carve out a favourable position in sustainable mobility technologies and for our entrepreneurs to become leaders of this important movement.
What will the impact of a big project like the REM be for Québec?
The REM is a high-profile project that it will make it even easier to say “That kind of thing happens here too!” While supporting our entrepreneurs, it may also attract foreign investors. A major investment like the one in the REM is proof that the government and all socioeconomic players are committed to supporting the future of sustainable mobility in Québec and to making it a solid business that’s there for the long run.
The REM in Figures
5 - Close to $5 billion in anticipated private investments.
600 - This fully automated light rail system will have a fleet of 240 cars and be able to serve 600 passengers per 4-car train at rush hours.
1966 - When completed, the project will be the largest integrated electric public transit infrastructure since the Montréal metro, which was inaugurated in 1966.
34 000 - Close to 34,000 direct and indirect jobs will be created during construction, and more than 1,000 permanent jobs will be created once the REM is commissioned.
680 000 - The REM will contribute to a reduction in GHG emissions of almost 680,000 tonnes over 25 years and therefore to a low-carbon economy.
Source : Réseau express métropolitain , 2018
What impact does a multibillion-dollar project like the REM have on companies in Québec and internationally?
It’s an attraction. I think that benefiting from a project that is major for Québec as a whole and structuring for Montréal will mean that we become a model.
More than mere words, when we invite international companies to come and see what we’re doing here, and see our supply chain, our know-how, the commitment of our governments and other authorities, it’s a concrete example of our determination to support major projects. But it also involves supporting what’s happening in other places by becoming a supplier or designer for companies that will come and open establishments in Québec. So, in our view, it’s a project that will make Québec a real power in sustainable mobility around the world.
What do you think Québec has today that will enable it to thrive in 20 years, and how is Investissement Québec working toward this future success?
Investissement Québec plays a role both upstream and downstream in the area of lightweight, smart vehicles and is supporting the sustainable development of our economy.
When it comes to transportation electrification, sustainable development, targeted investments in AI or our involvement in materials of the future such as lithium – through our stake in Nemaska Lithium in Shawinigan – Investissement Québec is working actively to position companies as major players that are crucial for the success of tomorrow’s economy.
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