Purolator rolls out hybrids in Toronto

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TORONTO, Ont. – Purolator Courier Ltd. has introduced ten hybrid electric vehicles (HEV) and one hydrogen fuel-cell hybrid electric vehicle (FC-HEV) into its Toronto curb-side delivery fleet. An additional 20 HEVs will also be integrated into Purolator’s fleet in other major metropolitan areas in Canada.

The announcements were made at a news conference last month at the company’s Metro West facility.

“We are proud to be the first Canadian courier company to start the transition to hybrid electric vehicles and to introduce a fuel cell hybrid electric vehicle to our fleet,” said Robert Johnson, President and CEO of Purolator.

“With the significant reductions in fossil fuel emissions and fuel savings promised by HEVs, we believe that our customers, our employees, the environment and our company will all benefit. We know this first step will show the way and help alleviate some of the air pollution problems that can exist in a large city. It’s truly a strategic decision for us that will have a long-term impact. The piloting of this green technology takes us one step closer to realizing our vision to lead the industry to a future standard of zero vehicle emissions.”

HEVs are best used in fleets whose driving cycles are constant stop and go, explained technicians. Energy is regenerated through braking and stored in the battery for driving. Purolator’s HEVs are equipped with a hybrid series configuration, which uses the internal combustion engine combined with a generator to supply electricity for the battery pack and electric motor. There is no mechanical connection between the internal combustion engine power unit and the wheels. All motive power is transferred electrically to one or more electric traction motors that drive the wheels.

The Purolator FC-HEV is one of the first ever complete hydrogen fuel cell applications in a Canadian fleet environment, including everything from hydrogen generation and refueling to the power module.

The FC-HEV uses a fuel cell/battery electric propulsion system that has been designed and integrated by Hydrogenics into an HEV platform. This hybrid configuration increases fuel efficiency while reducing green house gas emissions. The other key element is the development of a hydrogen generation and refueling system, which has the capability to generate hydrogen cleanly from water using renewable energy, such as wind power. Fleet applications such as Purolator’s represent an early-adopting market for hydrogen fuel cells primarily because fleets typically return daily to a central depot where they can be refueled.

The Government of Canada’s investment in the FC-HEV project totals more than $2.6 million, including $1.9 million from NRCan, through the Canadian Transportation Fuel Cell Alliance, and more than $770,000 from TPC, through its Hydrogen Early Adopters program.

“The Government of Canada is a proud supporter of this project, as it will lead to a cleaner environment, a higher quality of life in our communities and a competitive edge in the economy,” said the Honourable Jean Augustine, Member of Parliament for Etobicoke-Lakeshore, on behalf of the Honourable R. John Efford, Minister of Natural Resources Canada and the Honourable David L. Emerson, Minister of Industry.

“Now, more than ever, we have a chance to build a cleaner, more sustainable energy future in Canada. Increasing both the use and production of hydrogen will help get us there.”

The FC-HEV project is also one of the firsts in a series of strategic early deployments of Fuel Cell technology as part of the GTA Hydrogen Village program. The GTA Hydrogen Village is a partnership of some 40 companies dedicated to the development of a sustainable commercial market for hydrogen and fuel cell technologies in the GTA.

After analyzing the environmental impacts of its operations and services, Purolator identified fleet fuel usage and vehicle air emissions as the best way to reduce its environmental footprint. The HEVs are expected to eliminate up to 50 per cent, and the FC-HEVs up to 100 per cent, of greenhouse gasses currently emitted with conventional gasoline/diesel delivery vehicles, said company officials. If the experience of these vehicles lives up to expectations, then as Purolator replenishes its fleet each year – the company intends to add up to 400 HEVs to its fleet annually.

Developed in conjunction with Azure Dynamics Corporation, Hydrogenics Corporation, Industry Canada’s Technology Partnerships Canada (TPC) program and Natural Resources Canada (NRCan), the FC-HEV and HEVs are examples of Purolator’s commitment to being a responsible corporation that protects and preserves the environment by reducing the impact of its operations and services, said company officials, adding Purolator is also developing an on-site hydrogen production, storage and refueling/dispensing facility.

Purolator’s other environmental initiatives, according to company officials include:

* A strict no-idling policy that helps conserve fuel and reduce emissions;

* A route optimization program that reduces overall distances traveled by vehicles thereby minimizing fuel consumption and emissions.

For more information on Purolator www.purolator.com

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