November 13, 2006

Green energy vehicle project tests plug-in hybrid technology, solar panels

Hymotion, a firm specializing in plug-in hybrid technology, recently completed conversion of a Prius into a 100-plus mile-per-gallon plug-in hybrid vehicle for Veridian, a leading electricity distributor serving numerous eastern Ontario communities.

The conversion was the first phase of a showcase project. In the second phase, slated to begin during November, solar panels will be added to the roof of the vehicle and to the roof of Veridian's Pickering, Ontario headquarters for daytime charging. This second step will be completed by a third Canadian company, Solera Sustainable Energies, a provider of utility grid-connected solar power systems.

Veridian president and CEO Michael Angemeer has been driving the converted Prius - complete with a personalized licence plate reading "CONSERVE" - on a daily basis, and reports that he can travel about 55 kilometres on a single battery charge, with just a little gasoline being used for acceleration. "It is exciting to be directly involved in the testing and promotion of new technology that can help reduce air pollution and greenhouse gases, lessen our dependence on foreign oil and make more efficient use of our electricity system," he says.

Veridian's plug-in hybrid car may be unique to Ontario, but such vehicles are being actively promoted in some U.S. jurisdictions. Angemeer says Veridian and its shareholder communities "believe that the plug-in hybrids have a lot of potential for cars and larger vehicles, and hope that our project will drive local interest and further research and investment in this technology. The vehicle will showcase overnight charging using less expensive off-peak electricity through smart meter technology and solar energy."

The plug-in hybrid project is being supported in part by the LDC (Local Distribution Company) Tomorrow Fund, a utility industry fund established to finance research projects that advance innovation in Ontario's electricity distribution sector.

Veridian already has a number of hybrid vehicles from GM and Ford in its green fleet and is investigating retrofits of these vehicles as well as optimizing the use of ultra low-sulfur diesel in its truck fleet.

Hymotion, based near Toronto, specializes in complete integration for hybrid and fuel cell systems. The company offers a range of mechanical, electrical, control system and power electronics design for original equipment manufacturers (OEMs). More information is available on the company's Web site, www.hymotion.com or by E-mail, tdaly@hymotion.com. Information on Solera Sustainable Energies is available on-line at www.soleraenergies.com or by E-mail, s.smith@soleraenergies.com.

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