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Purolator Courier Ltd., Canada’s largest overnight courier company, formally introduced ten hybrid electric vehicles (HEV) and one hydrogen fuel-cell hybrid electric vehicle (FC-HEV) into its Toronto curb-side delivery fleet in a large-scale pilot program. The company plans to integrate an additional 20 HEVs into its fleet in other major metropolitan areas in Canada.

Purolator took delivery of the first hybrid van in November 2004.

The company expects the HEVs to eliminate up to 50%, and the FC-HEVs up to 100%, of greenhouse gasses currently emitted with conventional gasoline/diesel delivery vehicles. If the operational results match these expectations, then Purolator intends to add up to 400 HEV vehicles to its fleet annually as it replenishes vehicles.

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. 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.”

—Robert Johnson, President and CEO of Purolator

In tandem with the launch of the FC-HEV and HEVs, Purolator is developing an on-site hydrogen production, storage and refuelling/dispensing facility. Purolator’s other environmental initiatives include:

  • A strict no-idling policy that helps conserve fuel and reduces emissions

  • A route optimization program that reduces overall distances travelled by vehicles thereby minimizing fuel consumption and emissions


The Purolator FC-HEV, developed with Enova’s 120-kW electric drive system and a Hydrogenics (who also developed on the on-site hydrogen production system) 65-kW stack, is one of the first complete hydrogen fuel cell applications in a Canadian fleet environment, including everything from hydrogen generation and refuelling to the power module.

The Government of Canada invested more than $2.6 million in the fuel cell project, including $1.9 million from Natural Resources Canada (NRCan), through the Canadian Transportation Fuel Cell Alliance, and more than $770,000 from Industry Canada’s Technology Partnerships Canada (TPC), through its Hydrogen Early Adopters program.

The FC-HEV project is also one of the first in a series of strategic early deployments of Fuel Cell technology as part of the GTA (Greater Toronto Area) 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.



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