Unicell putting zero-emission vehicle designs on the streets

Truck body design and manufacturing company Unicell has completed a prototype of the first zero-emission vehicle of its weight class to be used within a courier fleet in Canada. Built in partnership with ArvinMeritor and in collaboration with Purolator, the Canadian overnight courier company, the Quicksider is now ready to begin road testing on the streets of Toronto.

Officially launched at Purolator's Metro West facility in Toronto, the Quicksider is expected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by more than 80% compared with current technology, well ahead of the target set by the Ontario and Toronto governments for greenhouse gas reductions by the year 2050.

“It will play an important role in fulfilling our commitment to protect and preserve the environment and reduce the environmental impacts of our operations and services,” said Bob Johnson, president and chief executive officer of Purolator.

Roger Martin, chairman of Unicell, said the Quicksider “is zero-emission in operation because it is fully electric. Its on-board energy source is a battery.” The Quicksider further contributes to a cleaner environment by minimizing energy use with its regenerative braking system, no idling, and aerodynamic design. A low, “kneeling” floor, hands-free doors, and tight turning radius will improve delivery operations and safety.

The vehicle is expected to have substantially lower maintenance costs because of its simple electric drive train and its use of regenerative braking, which puts braking energy back into the battery rather than wearing out conventional brake components.

After successful completion of the prototype tests, Unicell plans to assemble a small fleet of improved Quicksiders 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 this next phase of the project.

Founded in 1977, the Unicell group, with manufacturing facilities in Toronto and Buffalo NY, produces and distributes a full line of truck bodies and equipment. Like the Quicksider, all Unicell brand van and truck bodies are molded in one continuous fiberglass piece.

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