April 14, 2003

Canada Post to test hybrid electric powertrains in delivery vans

Canada Post has ordered five hybrid electric powertrains from Azure Dynamics for an 18-month pilot test of in-service delivery vans retrofitted with Azure's hybrid electric technology, the company announced recently. The test program is also being supported by EnCana Corporation, which is providing $1 million in sponsorship funding.

The vans will be "cluster-tested" in Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal along regular Canada Post delivery routes. Two more vans will undergo stringent laboratory testing in extreme conditions to obtain quantitative validation of their performance. The first of the hybrid vehicles will begin operating this August, equipped with Azure's hybrid powertrains, designed to regenerate energy in the brake cycle and so reduce fuel consumption by over 50% and emissions by up to 90%.

The technology is an advanced energy management system for hybrid electric vehicle (HEV) powertrains and offers real-time energy management to optimize performance of the HEV propulsion system components. It adapts the control system to actual operating conditions. "Our technology is designed to enable the use of smaller engines and component parts. This lowers the premium cost of hybridization in addition to reducing operating costs and fuel consumption thereby allowing fleet managers to make an economic case that improves margins while lowering emissions. This order will allow Canada Post to confirm the functionality of hybrid vehicles," explained Azure CEO Campbell Deacon.

The Canada Post step vans are ideal HEV candidates because of their stop and go drive cycle which facilitates the capture of regenerative braking energy and also benefits from the elimination of engine idling. One vehicle emission study conducted in England showed vehicles like step vans represented 12% of kilometres driven but were responsible for up to 25% of ground level emissions.

Gwyn Morgan, President and Chief Executive Officer of EnCana said, "EnCana's sponsorship supports the company's position that Canada should look beyond the framework of the Kyoto agreement to deal with other air pollutants. The public benefits because success with this technology will propel smog reduction in urban centres. The Company should also realize its proportional share of research and development credits earned through application of this technology. EnCana also earns a right of first offer to participate in other prototype programs as this technology comes to market."

More information is available from Azure president David Deacon, 416/367-0220, ext 104, E-mail ddeacon@azuredynamics.com, or Dick Wilson, vice-president, public affairs, for EnCanada, 403/645-4777, Web site www.encana.com.

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