Canadian auto parts magnate Frank Stronach, chairman of Magna International Inc., hopes to mass produce electric cars and motors in Canada within three years.
“The electric car is top priority at Magna,” Stronach told CTV’s Power Play on Tuesday during a day of meetings with officials in Ottawa.
While Ottawa and Washington have spent billions in bailing out General Motors and Chrysler, Stronach said his plan doesn’t include any government handouts.
“Let me put it this way, I would never ask for grants,” he said of his ambitious electric car plan.
Stronach said the plan would benefit from some public involvement, but will go forward no matter what role Ottawa or Ontario plays in the final scheme.
“If we would get a favourable loan, I think we could accelerate job creation; if not, we would just go (forward), as we always have done.”
Stronach’s comments came during a policy blitz in Ottawa where the Austrian-born businessman sketched out a plan for a green-friendly automobile.
“We just wanted to let the government know we are very serious, we have a serious commitment and we’d like to sit down and we’d like to operate in manufacturing in Canada.”
According to Stronach, a number of European countries, as well as the United States, have expressed interest in manufacturing the electric compact, which Magna developed with Ford.
Stronach said he has not yet been approached about meeting with Prime Minister Stephen Harper about setting up new plants, but said “if the prime minister wants to see me I’m always available.”
If the car does go into production, Magna would stand to profit from a growing consumer demand for more environmentally friendly vehicles.
Stronach estimated that in about six years, 15 per cent of cars sold will be electric or hybrid, a figure that he expects to jump to 30 per cent by 2021.
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