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50 Smartest Companies of the Year 2022

A company delivering outstanding services to propel success of the electric vehicle revolution: Propulsion Québec

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Propulsion Québec is the cluster for electric and smart transportation (EST) in the province of Quebec, Canada. Propulsion Québec catalyzes the entire sector around joint projects with the objective of positioning Quebec among the world leaders in developing and implementing smart and electric modes of ground transportation for the benefit of Quebec’s economy and environment. In 2024, Propulsion Québec’s goal is to be amongst the North American leaders in electric and smart transportation and to have established these ways of transportation as a top choice and solution for mobility and environmental issues. To achieve this, Propulsion Québec will have contributed to transforming the effervescence of the members and stakeholders (of the ecosystem) into a powerful and oriented driving force. Therefore, Propulsion Québec will have facilitated the recognition of Quebec’s EST as a world-class ecosystem.

Starting with 20 founding members in 2017, as of June 2022 the organization supports 260 members, from startups to large companies, including Quebec institutions, research centers, and mobility operators.

In conversation with Sarah Houde, CEO of Propulsion Québec

Q. Why is Quebec an ideal territory for the development of electric and smart transportation?

Québec has been taking a major turn to support the sustainable development of the economy and the fight against climate change. The territory offers a lot of advantages related to the resources, assets and know-how of Quebec.

Hydroelectricity: Hydroelectricity is a renewable and abundant energy source at a highly competitive price.

Minerals: The province’s territory abounds in strategic mineral deposits such as lithium, aluminum, graphite, titanium, phosphate, and cobalt.

Knowledge: Quebec boasts high-caliber research capabilities in the electric and smart transportation sector.

Skills: The province’s technical skills, honed over years of experience in the transportation sector, are recognized internationally. It is renowned for its specialty vehicle manufacturing expertise.

Climate: With its four very distinct seasons and wide range of precipitations, Quebec is a unique playground well suited for electric and smart vehicle-related trials and demonstrations.

Q. What is the biggest project Propulsion Québec is currently working on?

Ambition 2030 EST is an acceleration plan and a true roadmap to develop the promising EST sector to the fullest, make Quebec a world leader in electric and smart transportation by 2030, and help fight climate change. This unique industrial roadmap aims to position Quebec as a world leader in a strategic zero-emission industry.

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Tell us more about Ambition 2030 EST

Propulsion Québec and its 260 members have noted the clear need for an industrial strategy for this sector and for sustainable mobility in general. As Quebec's cluster for electric and smart transportation, Propulsion Québec has made it its mission to take action. Over the past year, the cluster conducted a major engagement exercise to create Ambition 2030 EST, a roadmap with eight strategic themes and 225 practical initiatives designed to make Quebec a world leader in electric and smart transportation. The roadmap provides our industry with a basic structure for developing local networks and identifies the most promising sectors for electric and smart transportation in Quebec. The goal is to use the roadmap to position Quebec as a model for innovation by improving our sector's economic, social, and environmental impact while helping the Quebec government achieve these aims. 

To help ensure the roadmap serves as a genuine instrument for advancing our industry, we've developed an interactive data visualization tool to track the implementation of the 225 initiatives. This platform is available online at www.propulsionquebec.com so that stakeholders can share their progress, and everyone can see how this key action plan is being carried out. Ambition 2030 EST will help a wide range of stakeholders, private companies, public and government organizations, and research and innovation centers that have worked alongside Propulsion Québec to complete these initiatives and play a key role in mobility and more sustainable, green, and prosperous economy of tomorrow.

The themes and concrete actions will:

Theme 1 – Develop a world-class talent pool

Theme 2 – Stimulate the development of innovations with strong commercial potential

Theme 3 – Lead the EV transition effort in North America

Theme 4 – Accelerate infrastructure deployment

Theme 5 – Foster collaborative and secure data management

Theme 6 – Boost simulation, experimentation, and testing capabilities to become a global leader

Theme 7 – Facilitate access to capital and funding opportunities

Theme 8 – Leverage the battery industry to support EST growth

Q. How is this roadmap innovative and unique?

This roadmap is an innovative approach in all its aspects:

  • The creation: This included the participation of several players in our ecosystem around workshops. It was designed by the ecosystem for its their own deployment;
  • The mobilization: we met one by one in October 2021 with several organizations identified as stakeholders;
  • The dashboard: we wanted to guarantee that this mobilization would be maintained for the next 8 years. We have therefore put an interactive tool on our website. It allows committed stakeholders to display their progress AND for everyone to consult them.

With this roadmap, we want to position Quebec as a model of innovation by strengthening the economic, social, and environmental impact of the EST sector while supporting the Government of Quebec in achieving its objectives.

Our work was carried out in two phases:

Phase 1 - conducting a strategic assessment, including an extensive consultation exercise with our members, several stakeholders in the Quebec ITE ecosystem and Deloitte's network of international experts, as well as the creation of a map of the ecosystem. Propulsion Québec was able to rely on the analysis of:

  • Global trends in mobility;
  • Quebec's strengths and weaknesses through interviews with Quebec experts in the electric and intelligent transportation ecosystem;
  • Various governments’ ambitions (Canada, Quebec, Montreal, United States).

This roadmap not only allowed us to identify the most promising niches in our industry and the sub-sectors with strong growth potential, but also to draw up a list of actions to be implemented in Quebec between now and 2030 in order to maximize the development of electric and smart transportation in Quebec.

Phase 2 - Eight key strategic themes were identified around major action areas for our ecosystem and then broken down into 225 initiatives listed in an interactive dashboard. Our team then began a series of individual meetings with more than 200 organizations to mobilize them on the project.

The Quebec’s ecosystem needed this roadmap. Ambition 2030 EST consists of a series of initiatives, currently being rolled out or ready to be rolled out in sequence, to establish Quebec as a world leader in EST.  Engagement by all stakeholders will help Quebec reach its full potential in this key sector, achieve GHG reduction targets, and be recognized as a global model and benchmark for EST.

“With its four very distinct seasons and wide range of precipitations, Quebec is a unique playground well suited for electric and smart vehicle-related trials and demonstrations.”