Electric Concepts Create Buzz in Toronto

When you take a road trip to your favourite destination in the future, chances are you may be doing so in an electric vehicle.

This year people visiting the Canadian International AutoShow are able to enjoy Electric City, a showcase of the electrification of the automotive sector and micro-mobility. It features an indoor micro-mobility test track where attendees can try a range of electric bikes from Amego EV, as well as the SARIT (Safe Affordable Reliable Innovative Transport) – the latest innovation from Magna founder Frank Stronach.

We had a chance to tour Electric City and check out some of the latest trends in EV that you might find yourself using on your next vacation.

SARIT (Safe Affordable Reliable Innovative Transport)

Daniel Lajeunesse – VP, Micro-Mobility and Commercialization
Stronach International Inc.

Website: https://www.gosarit.com/

Daniel Lajeunesse says unlike E-bikes, SARIT  can be used in all types of weather by people of all fitness levels. (Photo Courtesy Rod Charles)

Vacay.ca: Hello there, great to meet you, Daniel.

Daniel Lajeunesse: Thank you! It’s great to be at the AutoShow.

Vacay.ca: So this vehicle is electric?

Lajeunesse: It is 100 per cent EV, manufactured in Canada, with North American parts!

Vacay.ca: How was this vehicle conceived?

Lajeunesse: Frank Stronach was actually in a meeting with Ontario Premiere Doug Ford and they were having a conversation about how to move the province more into EV. But Frank had to go to Queen’s Park in order to have the meeting and realized that most people were single occupant in their vehicles. So he realized that the future was not simply about electrification, but also in terms of understanding how people are using their vehicles and creating a vehicle that meets that need.

And to be specific, what we wanted to create here is a single occupant vehicle for those trips where you are usually the single occupant. That includes going from home to school, home to work, and back again. Maybe doing a coupel of those smaller errands.

Frank Stronach was inspired to create the revolutionary SARIT vehicle after getting stuck in a traffic jam in one of the most congested cities in the world. (Rod Charles/Vacay.ca)

Vacay.ca: For tourism purposes, do you see this as something that could be like an e-bikes? We see them all over the place now.

Lajeunesse: Absolutely. So the idea here is that a lot of those other micro? solutions are great, e-scooters and bikes are great, I use them myself and they are amazing, but they are subject to seasons, they are subject to weather. There is an inherent limitation to them. What we are hoping here is that this is a solution for anyone to use no matter how fit they are, no matter how the weather looks, no matter the distance they want to travel. Just a little extra to what exists already.

The SARIT can go anywhere a bike can go and is small enough to take advantage of city bike lanes and parking. (Photo courtesy of SARIT)

Vacay.ca: Do you see this being a tourism solution down the road?

Lajeunesse: We are getting a lot of feedback not only from Condo Associations but from resort organizations as well. who want to be able to provide a vehicle to various parties. Parking vehicles is problematic, the cost of real estate is going sky high. Our vehicles require 1/4 the size of a regular parking space and as well they are a quarter the cost of a regular car to maintain and manage and so forth. So yes, we do believe we are making a simple solution for the Hilton’s and Marriott’s of this world to offer to their customers at their resorts.

Vacay.ca: What’s next for this car? Can I buy one?

Lajeunesse: This year we are going to be launching in the summer and begin manufacturing in May. We hope to begin selling in the summer once we build up a little inventory. So this year will all be about sales and next year we will be starting our partnerships, memberships, subcriptions, leasing and renting. So this year it’s about selling them and next year it’s about all the other business models that go along with it.

Potential Motors

Bill Lamey, VP of Engineering
Potential Motors

Website: https://www.potentialmotors.com/

With just 64 inches in track width, the Adventure 1 can access the vast network of ATV trails and remote destinations inaccessible to trucks or SUVs. (Rod Charles/Vacay.ca)

Vacay.ca: This is a very interesting vehicle Bill! A lot of our readers would be interested in getting on the road with a vehicle like this. Can you tell us about it?

Bill Lamey: All right, so this is the Adventure 1, it’s designed as an off road turn key solution for camping, it’s an off road vehicle, the idea is you can get away and basically spend a weekend luxury camping, getting to those remote areas that not a lot of vehicles can get to, so it’s a purely electric power train vehicle, it’s designed for 160 km of off road usage, which is a lot more energy than on-road usage, it’s a fairly large battery, lots of power, it’s got off-road suspension built in so you can get to a lot of those rugged places that most vehicles can’t, it’s a 64-inch track width, which is the size of a typical recreational off road vehicle, so you can get on all those trails that are accessible to that.

It has an integrated kitchen and bed, so like I said it’s turnkey so you don’t need to bring anything like that with you. Basically you bring your food and your sleeping bag and away you go. It’s got a big storage on the top with a ladder on top so you can get up there and take extra gear for fishing or hunting, or anything you like to do.

The tow-charging capabilities of this vehicle means it will be ready to ride when ready. (Photo courtesy of Adventure 1)

Vacay.ca: This vehicle looks really good in an auto show but some potential customers might be unsure if they want to trust an electric off-road ride. What do you say to people who might say they prefer to stick with a tried and true gas guzzler than this?

Lamey: There’s always those people and we have to start somewhere. But I’m telling you the EV technology these days is very robust and it’s also much more environment friendly. So it’s quiet. This thing is amazing when you have it out in the woods, you don’t really hear it, which is beautiful. So you can actually enjoy the nature around you. The drive train automotive grade, so it’s really rugged. I don’t think anyone should be concerned about that.

Sleep anywhere with a deployable full-size bed that comfortably sleeps 2. The bed seamlessly integrates, folding and zipping into a waterproof, dustproof compartment that keeps your bedding dry no matter the conditions. (Rod Charles/Vacay.ca)

Vacay.ca: I don’t want to sound like a smart aleck but we are in Canada and I need to ask. How does this puppy perform in winter time, because our readers love to road trip in all four seasons and some may question the ability of The Potential to perform in harsh conditions.

Lamey: Well, our test teams are actually out now with our other prototype which is just for testing and it’s actually doing very well. Now obviously the cold weather has an effect on electronics, doesn’t matter where you are so there is some loss in low temperature. But that’s antoher thing that EV’s are coming away with. So it does perform really well, it has two motors, one in the front and one in the back, so you basically have rugged four wheel drive all the time.

Vacay.ca: And you are a Canadian company?

Lamey: We are based in New Brunswick, and we have been in business for about five years.

Vacay.ca: What’s next for your company?

Lamey: Next for us is getting this guy to production. So we are taking pre-orders now for this adventure 1 vehicles, you can go to our website and order now for a fully refundable deposit.

Vacay.ca: How much?

Lamey: It will cost $1000 for the deposit. The vehicle will sell for $136,000 US. We are only going to make about 100 of them, so they are a low volume vehicle and we plan to start production in 2025.

Vacay.ca:  Thank you for your time sir! It was wonderful connecting with you and learning more about The Potential.

Lamey: Thank you!

The Project Arrow Concept Car

Website: projectarrow.ca/

The first Canadian-made zero-emission vehicle was launched at the 2023 Canadian International AutoShow with great fanfare. Yes, I know it is highly unlikely that our readers are ever going to be road-tripping in this ride but it’s still worth a mention on the strength of its sheer cool-factor.

The Automotive Parts Manufacturers’ Association (APMA) of Canada launched the first, original, full-build, zero-emission concept vehicle named Project Arrow. An all-Canadian effort, it will be designed, engineered and built through the joint efforts of our world-class automotive supply sector and post-secondary institutions.

The Project Arrow concept car is the result of a collaboration of more than 50 partners led by the Automotive Parts Manufacturers Association (APMA), answering the challenge of the Canadian government to be at Net Zero by 2050. The sleek car will be showcased for the duration of the AutoShow near the indoor EV Test Drive Track that will be in the main showroom on the 800 level of the South Building at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre.

“Project Arrow is a ground-breaking show of Canada’s most advanced zero emissions, lightweight, connected and autonomous automotive technology,” says Flavio Volpe, President of the APMA. “Inspired by the incredible innovation story of the Avro Arrow, the concept vehicle prototype project was launched as a platform for vehicle of the future technologies, developed, commercialized, and built in Canada.”

Rod has previously worked for Canoe.ca and is currently freelancing for Huffington Post Travel. He’s also written travel articles for the Toronto Star and Up! Magazine. Living in Toronto but raised in the small central Ontario village of Holstein, Rod is a country boy at heart who has never met a farmer’s market he didn’t like.