Durham College Unveils State-of-the-Art EV Facilities

Source: Durham College

Durham College’s Whitby campus has grown significantly over the past 30 years, becoming a hub for skilled trades and the automotive industry, driven by student and faculty collaboration and partnerships with the local community.

Recently, Durham College (DC) marked the official opening of two new spaces that foster automotive innovation and learning: PROTO and their Electrical Vehicle (EV) Lab. These spaces, located in the main building of DC’s Whitby campus, cover a total area of over 9,000 sq. ft.

And with the recent announcement of a new Honda EV battery plant being built just an hour away in Alliston – creating an estimated 1,000 new jobs – Durham College is doing its part to train the next generation of Ontario’s automotive industry professionals.

DC Fosters EV Innovation

PROTO is a place where Durham students, skilled trades faculty members, and industry partners can work together to create solutions and prototypes for industry challenges. Meanwhile, the EV Lab is a dedicated space for students to learn the skills they need to help evolve Canada’s automotive industry.

Right now, DC is one of only a few colleges in Ontario that has an EV Lab.

“PROTO and the EV Lab are advancing Durham College as a leader in innovation and transformative education,” said Don Lovisa, Durham’s president.

“These new spaces show our commitment to creating change, generating big ideas, and continuously adapting to the needs of our dynamic industries.”

Students Get Hands-On Learning, Industry Connections

With new spaces like PROTO and the EV Lab, Durham students will have unique opportunities to enhance their skills, improve their employability, and build meaningful relationships with industry and community partners through hands-on learning.

Most interesting to prospective students may be the innovative and even experimental methods that Durham is using to encourage engagement and learning. Arguably, their most unique offering may be “virtual immersive reality,” which leverages VR to create a safe way for students to learn EV technologies.

“Propulsion systems for electric cars or buses are running at very high voltages where, if you make a mistake, it can be lethal,” said Chris Gillis, Durham’s manager of applied research and business development.

“Virtual immersive reality creates a safe space for introductory training.”

Preparing Students for the EV Workforce

For its part, the provincial government – which, alongside the federal government, helped provide public funds to support Honda’s new EV plant in Alliston – is very excited about Durham’s innovation in this area.

“Our government is proud to support Durham College’s cutting-edge electric vehicle lab and PROTO, which will give students the hands-on experience and skills they need to secure in-demand jobs in the automotive industry,” said Jill Dunlop, Ontario’s Minister of Colleges and Universities.

“Through collaboration with companies to solve real-world problems, students will be prepared for the workforce when they graduate, while at the same time strengthening our province’s position as a global leader in the manufacturing of electric vehicles and their batteries.”

Of course, Durham isn’t the only college in Ontario offering automotive (i.e., motive power) programs, including those focused on electric vehicles and technology. To learn more about these types of programs – as well as those with an embedded apprenticeship curriculum – check out our Find Your Trade program search.

You can read more about Durham’s announcement on their official website.