Purolator introduces electric curbside delivery vehicle

by Canadian Shipper

TORONTO, Ont. — Purolator celebrated a significant milestone in its commitment to the environment by introducing the Quicksider prototype, a battery-operated electric delivery vehicle.

The first of its kind in Canada to be used within the courier industry, the Purolator Quicksider is a zero emission vehicle while in operation. The emissions associated with charging its battery are expected to be less than 20 per cent of those produced by a conventional diesel-powered curbside delivery vehicle. The Quicksider will be tested and evaluated for performance on the streets of Toronto.

Manufactured by Toronto-based Unicell Limited in partnership with ArvinMeritor, the Purolator Quicksider combines several operation-enhancing features including automatic doors, a tighter turning ratio and pneumatic suspensions that enable the truck to kneel to curb level to unload packages. With its advanced electric drivetrain, the Quicksider is expected to require less maintenance than a conventional diesel-powered curbside delivery vehicle.

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 Purolators 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 its towards sustainable practices that will result in long-term benefits for the environment, customers, employees and business, said Robert C. Johnson, President and C.E.O. of Purolator. As Canadas 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. Following the successful completion of the Quicksider prototype test pilot, additional Quicksiders will be assembled for more extensive testing. Sustainable Development Technology Canada, a not-for-profit corporation created by the Government of Canada, has allocated $2.1 million to the next phase of the Quicksider demonstration project.

Purolators expansion of its green fleet is part of the companys commitment to being a responsible corporation. 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. Purolator piloted its first HEV fleet in the Toronto market in 2005 with the goal of eliminating up to 50 per cent of greenhouse gasses currently emitted with conventional gasoline/diesel delivery vehicles and reduce fuel consumption by an average of 50 per cent. After more than 414,000 kilometres on the road, the vehicles have saved more than 72,000 litres of fuel and prevented the emission of over 150 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions, in carbon dioxide equivalents, as well as associated smog-causing emissions.

In addition to its fleet, Purolator has implemented other environmentally friendly technologies and programs including:
The recent order of 105 HEVs on the Ford E-450 platform, expected to be received in the third and fourth quarters of 2008.

Testing of a zero-emission fuel-cell hybrid electric vehicle (FC-HEV).
Construction of an on-site hydrogen production, storage and refueling and dispensing facility.
 A route optimization program that reduces overall distances traveled by vehicles thereby minimizing fuel consumption and emissions.
 A strict no-idling rule which imposes an automatic 20-second maximum idle time on all vehicles, helping conserve fuel and reduce emissions.
An energy efficient lighting program which enables terminals to use less energy, draw less demand on the electrical grid and produce less pollution. The result of the lighting retrofit program has been a 40 per cent reduction of energy consumption and energy demand for lighting.
 Environmentally responsible packaging, which includes PuroLetters (and Purolator ExpressTM Envelopes) made from 50 per cent recycled fibres, including 35 per cent post-consumer fibres, which are recyclable in virtually all municipal and private recycling programs. In addition, Purolator boxes are made from 40 per cent recycled fibres including 35 per cent post-consumer fibres.

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