Good Corporate Citizen – Purolator’s Fleet of Delivery Vans go Greener

What are you doing with your auto fleet. Is it time to go Hybrid (HEV) or even electric. Is the timing right? The transportation sector accounts for 14% of carbon emissions worldwide and Europe has embarked on a 90% decarbonization strategy of the sector, so we we know what is coming.

This is a look at how Purolator tackled this issue for their fleet of delivery Vans. This story starts in 2005 when Purolator piloted its first HEV fleet in the Toronto market  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.  

First HyBrid Delivery Introduced in 2005

Purolator HEV Delivery Van in Halifax, Nova Scotia

The pilot that had 50 HEVs on the road and the vehicles are based on the parallel hybrid-electric Ford E-450 platform. They were purchased from Azure Dynamics Corporation, a developer of hybrid-electric and electric powertrains for commercial fleet vehicles based in Vancouver. 

During the pilot, the Ford E-450 hybrid trucks , that come with 5.4 liter Triton gasoline engine, running an average of 60 km per day averaged 3.5 km/l  (8.2 mpg ), 46% better than a conventional gasoline powered model but less than the 4.5km/ (10.5 mpg) that a comparable diesel truck achieves.

The  delivery van reduces emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases by up to 20 tons over the expected 10-15 year life of the vehicle. The hybrid design shuts off the gasoline engine when the vehicle is stopped, complying with anti-idle regulations and auxiliary systems continue to operate with the Triton gasoline engine turned off. After more than 414,000 kilometres, the vehicles have saved more than 72,000 litres of fuel and prevented the emission of over 150 tonnes of carbon greenhouse gas emissions.  

The All Electric Delivery Van Launched in 2014

In 2014, they launched the first electric delivery vehicle, Quicksilver, in Toronto. The Quicksider is a fully-electric delivery truck that kneels to the ground to allow drivers to easily wheel a handcart on and off the truck. The Quicksider is made by Unicell Limited in Toronto.

The prototype was a sixteen-foot fiberglass-bodied van that uses a sodium nickel chloride battery with a 65 km range and a top speed of 100 km. Other features included automatic doors, a tighter turning ratio and pneumatic suspensions that enable the truck to kneel to curb level to unload packages. 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 addition of HEV and electric vehicles in its fleet is the result of Purolator’s commitment towards green initiatives as part of their management strategy. Purolator has implemented other environmentally friendly initiatives, including a strict no-idling rule for its drivers, a route optimization program that reduces overall distances travelled by vehicles, and environmentally responsible packaging. Today , Purolator has 323 HEVs as part of its fleet of over 4,300 vehicles and is the largest HEV fleet in Canada.