CANADA – Fleet operators in Canada’s courier industry are increasingly using electric vehicles, according to The Purolator Quicksider operates 10 hours a day in downtown Toronto, delivering about 220 packages and parcels with zero greenhouse-gas emissions. It uses two electric motors and charges overnight for six hours. The Quicksider is the latest innovation in Purolator’s Canadian fleet of more than 3,000 vehicles (not including its longer-distance trucks), which has 49 hybrid-electrics with an additional 105 on order.

The Quicksider is manufactured and owned by Toronto-based Unicell Ltd., in partnership with ArvinMeritor, which is supplying the drivetrain systems and components. A second-generation, Quicksider is already in the works and should be ready for road testing before year’s end.

Five years ago, Purolator began working on hybrid-electric vehicles with Azure Dynamics, a Canadian company supplying the electric drivetrains. The company has saved 40 percent on fuel costs. Purolator replaces about 10 percent of its fleet every year, and the company is aiming to have 40 percent of its vehicles be hybrid.

Also, UPS said that 34 percent of its Canadian package delivery fleet is now green. The company has electric and hybrid-electric vehicles in use elsewhere, but not in Canada, where propane vehicles form the bulk of its alternative energy fleet.

The U.S. company is testing a hydraulic hybrid delivery vehicle, which uses a small diesel combustion engine and hydraulic components that replace the mechanical transmission and driveline. In tests a significant improvement in fuel economy was shown (60 to 70 percent) as well as a 40-percent reduction in CO{-2} emissions. Testing it in city conditions for package delivery will show its potential for UPS’s vehicle fleet, according to