Frank Stronach built a Canadian company that became one of the world’s biggest producers of car manufacturing parts.

Now, the founder of Magna International is building on his legacy by venturing into the expanding global zero-emission micro-mobility vehicle space.

The 90-year-old, who was inducted into Automotive Hall of Fame in 2018, is producing three- and four-wheel EV micro-mobility EVs that will be marketed as SARIT, an acronym for Safe Affordable Reliable Innovative Transport. The vehicles are on display at the 2023 Canadian International AutoShow, along with a test track for people to drive the three-wheel vehicle. The four-wheel vehicle is still in the prototype stage.

Stronach has been in attendance at the AutoShow on a daily basis to talk to the public about his vehicles. The day before the show opened to the public, a journalist from a micro mobility publication walked up to him and praised him for what he is doing.

“If people like it you sort of realize you are on the right track,” Stronach said. “By being here, we will make people aware that they can buy the products soon.”

The three-wheel vehicle measures 3½ feet wide (1 metre), 7¼ feet long (2.2 metres) and 5.5 feet high (1.6 metres). It is technically described as a one-plus-one, or two-seater similar to a motorcycle. It is expected to hit the market in July. The four-wheel truck has basically the same measurements as the three-wheel, but with an additional cargo bed that is four feet (1.2 metres) and can carry up to 400 pounds (181 kilograms). It is expected to be ready for sale in early 2024. The vehicles can reach a high-end speed of 32 kilometres per hour but have been limited to 20 kilometres per hour for the AutoShow. Both can travel up to 100 km on a single-charge.

“We are leveraging Frank’s vehicle manufacturing expertise,” said Daniel Lajeunesse, Vice-President, Micro-Mobility and Commercialization for Stronach International. “He’s been building cars for 60 years. Trying to get people to understand what we built is not too difficult, but we figured the Canadian AutoShow was the best way to actually introduce it to the word. The AutoShow makes a lot of sense.

“We’re a Canadian company. We use Canadian parts. We manufacture in Canada. We have a strong presence with American parts as well, so we really are a North American company. So we figured this is the best place to move forward. The relationship was just logical in terms of putting us together to not only show our vehicles and to show Frank Stronach and his own evolution in terms of manufacturing vehicles and manufacturing this type of vehicle, but to allow people to test drive them. People are zooming by and having a great time.”

He said the vehicles are meant for dense, urban geographies and, in particular, for individuals who are travelling only a few kilometres between home and work.

“We are pretty much a speed bike in a safety cage, but we allow for seasonality, which is great. A lot of the other solutions are designed and built in California, where there are no seasons. We believe that we’ve built something here that no matter of rain, cold weather, warm weather, you can drive the vehicle around.”

In an interview with the Toronto Star in February 2022, Stronach said building these vehicles could be the “crowning thing” in his career, which has seen him become an industrial leader in vehicle manufacturing and a world-class breeder of championship thoroughbred racehorses.

He said the idea for producing micro-mobility vehicles happened by chance. In the summer of 2020, he received a call from Ontario Premier Doug Ford seeking advice on how to create jobs in the automotive industry. Stronach said the call happened when he was been driven in downtown Toronto and the slow pace of the traffic gave him the idea to produce small-sized EVs for street and road usage, similar to bicycles.

“It’s a matter of circumstances, being in the right place at the right time,” Stronach said. “You cannot change destiny, right? If Ford wouldn’t have called me, I might not have thought about it. It created something.”

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For more information, please contact:

Kalvin Reid
Director of Public Relations
Enterprise Canada
Twitter: @KalReid

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