Purolator Courier makes transition to hybrid electric trucks

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TORONTO, Ont. — Purolator Courier has begun replacing its trucks with environmentally-friendly hybrid electric vehicles with an initial order of 30 trucks to be filled in 2004.

The trucks are being built by Azure Dynamics Ing., which is a Canadian company based out of Toronto and Vancouver. Purolator says it’s the first Canadian courier company to make the transition to hybrid electric trucks for urban deliveries.

“We’re delighted to be able to invest in technology that is environmentally friendly and efficient,” said Purolator president and CEO Robert Johnson. “We are sure that on-going reductions in green house gas emissions and fuel savings will make this a true win-win investment for us and for the environment.”

In field testing, Purolator realized a 50 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions in addition to a 50 per cent increase in fuel efficiency. The first 30 trucks will be deployed in Toronto early next year. If the performance is as strong as expected, then the courier company will continue to add up to 400 hybrid electric vehicles each year beginning in 2005. The company currently runs a fleet of 3,700 urban delivery trucks.

“We’re equally delighted to have found made-in-Canada technology that accommodated Canadian road and weather conditions and that met our fleet requirements,” Johnson said. “We know this first step will help alleviate some of the air pollution problems that can exist in a large city. Given the millions of kilometres our vehicles cover each year filling customer orders, we’re going to see, over time, a truly significant reduction in pollutants while at the same time, cutting our reliance on fossil fuel."

The company is confident that the transition will be a smooth one and that customers won’t notice any deterioration in service.

“First and foremost, we had to ensure that our customers would continue receiving the standard of service they’re used to from Purolator,” said Ray Pedersen, senior vice-president of operations and field sales at Purolator. “So we put the vehicle through rigorous testing in Calgary and Vancouver during the fall and winter of 2002/2003. The technology and its reliability passed with flying colours, giving us the confidence to place this order and to plan an on-going program of fleet replacement.”

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