Ontario-based MEDATech Engineering claims that a federal program meant to promote awareness around zero-emissions vehicles is set up to exclude private industry.
According to the Government of Canada’s website, the Zero-Emission Vehicle Awareness Initiative (ZEVAI) is designed to promote “projects that aim to increase awareness, knowledge and public confidence in zero-emission vehicles (ZEV) and public charging and refuelling infrastructure.”
MEDATech, a manufacturer of the AltDrive battery-electric powertrain for heavy-duty industrial vehicles, says the program excludes private sector applicants. This comes after the company’s proposal for funding under the program was denied.
According to MEDATech, the proposal involved “year-long demonstration of ultra-fast charging technology for electric mine haul trucks – the first technology of its kind – at several mine sites across Canada.”
But the company says the application was rejected because, according to funding guidelines, NRCan [Natural Resources Canada] excludes funding for projects that endorse a single product or service designed to generate sales revenue for the applicant or their partners.
In a press release, MEDATech president Robert Rennie said this kind of exclusion effectively eliminates private industry from funding.
“The way ZEVAI is set up, not-for-profits, government agencies and academic institutions are way more likely to win funding,” Rennie said. “It’s going to have little to no effect on reducing carbon in industries like mining and construction, in my opinion.”
Rennie said it’s impossible for MEDATech to avoid being brand specific when it comes to zero-emissions innovation in heavy-duty mining vehicles.
“What this really says is that private sector applicants need not apply,” he said.
In an emailed statement to the Canadian Mining Journal, NRCan said it was unable to speak to the specifics of MEDATech's application because of privacy reasons.
But NRCan said private sector companies are included among the many organizations and legal entities in Canada that can apply for funding under the Zero-Emission Vehicle Awareness Initiative.