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Introducing the Quicksider

TORONTO, Ont. - Purolator has achieved a significant milestone for both the Canadian transportation industry and the environment with the introduction of the Quicksider prototype, a battery-operated e...

TORONTO, Ont. – Purolator has achieved a significant milestone for both the Canadian transportation industry and the environment with the introduction of the Quicksider prototype, a battery-operated electric delivery vehicle.

The Quicksider is the first fully-electric vehicle to be used by the courier industry in Canada, boasting zero emissions while in operation. The emissions associated with charging its battery are expected to be less than 20% of those produced by a conventional diesel-powered curbside delivery vehicle. The prototype will be tested and evaluated on the streets of Toronto for about three months.

The unit was manufactured by Toronto-based Unicell Limited, a manufacturer and distributor of truck bodies and equipment, in partnership with ArvinMeritor, a global supplier of integrated systems, modules and components to the motor vehicle industry.

The Quicksider combines several operation-enhancing features, Purolator officials recently announced. Automatic hands-free doors eliminate the need to open or close doors – which can occur more than 200 times a day for most couriers. A shorter wheelbase reduces the turning radius from 60′ to 40′ which will allow drivers to make U-turns where they might have previously made three-point turns. Pneumatic suspensions enable the truck to kneel to curb level allowing for “roll-off” package deliveries.

With its advanced electric drivetrain, Purolator officials anticipate the Quicksider will require less maintenance than a conventional diesel-powered curbside delivery vehicle.

Purolator’s director of national fleet and maintenance, Serge Viola, estimates that a fully-charged battery will last about eight hours and once the battery is completely drained, it will take about six hours to charge up.

But despite its electric power source, the Quicksider has an excellent amount of torque, as Truck West discovered when zipping along for a demonstration at Purolator’s Metro West facility.

“An electric vehicle actually has more torque at the wheel than a regular engine. It actually has better startability than a regular vehicle,” Viola says. The top-end speed for the 230-hp vehicle will peak at about 110 km/h.

In addition to the introduction of the Quicksider prototype, Purolator has also added 30 new hybrid-electric vehicles (HEVs) to its curbside delivery fleet across Canada, with 28 in Vancouver, one in Ottawa, and one in Montreal.

These vehicles join Purolator’s national green fleet which includes 19 HEVs and one fuel-cell hybrid electric vehicle that have been in service in Toronto since 2005.

“At Purolator we make it our business to know where business is going and clearly it’s towards sustainable practices that will result in long-term benefits for the environment, customers, employees and business,” says Robert Johnson, president and CEO of Purolator. “As Canada’s largest courier company, we are proud to continue to lead the industry towards green alternatives. The Quicksider represents the next step to fulfilling our commitment to protect and preserve the environment.”

Preliminary design work on the Quicksider first began at Unicell in 2000. In 2003, Purolator joined the development team to provide key insights and recommendations that would help make the electric vehicle more effective for use in a courier environment.

After analyzing courier routes and terminal operations with Purolator drivers, managers and engineers, Unicell enhanced its original designs to include features that will help maximize efficiency in delivery operations.

Drivetrain systems manufacturer ArvinMeritor joined the project team in 2004 to design and build the electric axle drivetrain, regenerative braking system, and system integration of motors, gears and controls for a working prototype vehicle.

The Transportation Development Centre of Transport Canada also supported the project throughout its development.

Having completed rigorous safety, handling and compliance testing in the second half of 2006 and early 2007, the Purolator Quicksider will now be tested and evaluated for performance as part of Purolator’s existing green fleet in Toronto.

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