Rapid Electric Vehicles (REV) of Vancouver has delivered its first all-electric light duty SUV for use in a North American commercial fleet.

REV’s advanced modular electric drive system is used to electrify today’s most popular short-haul fleet chassis found in Ford Escapes and F-150s, transforming them into advanced, highway-capable electric vehicles.

Burlington Hydro Inc. (BHI) is first to own the REV 300 ACX, a retrofit Ford Escape producing zero tailpipe emissions and complete with smart grid and wireless telemetry capabilities. The ACX features a 160-kilometre range, a 144-kph top speed, with no compromise to performance or safety.

"The REV 300 ACX is not a hybrid nor is it a concept vehicle – it is a fully electric vehicle that will be in daily use in the Burlington Hydro and GridSmartCityTM fleet," said Jay Giraud, REV’s CEO and president.

"This is a first for Canada, made possible by Burlington Hydro’s leadership and REV's vehicle architecture designed by our electric vehicle veterans who have more than 30 years experience developing proprietary drive systems and electric energy storage technologies."

The SUV is the focal point of BHI’s Pure Electric Vehicle Demonstration Project, also the first of its kind. The one-year study will be conducted by the University of Waterloo, with funding from Transport Canada. It is designed to increase understanding of the operating characteristics of an all-electric fleet vehicle in practical, working applications. Characteristics to be monitored include recharging patterns and requirements; optimizing the usage and recharging cycle in a real life setting; overall vehicle performance; drive-cycle; battery state-of-health and electricity grid impacts.

"Ontario leads the world in the development of the emerging Smart Grid, and Burlington Hydro is committed to be the leading distribution utility in Smart Grid development within the province," said Gerry Smallegange, president of Burlington Hydro. "This electric fleet vehicle demonstration project with REV and our partners is proof of that leadership pledge."

The vehicle’s motor and drive system technology was developed specifically for fleet applications by REV, an international private company that offers complete modular drive systems, transforming light-duty Ford trucks into advanced all-electric zero-emission vehicles.

The Burlington study will be supervised by Roydon Fraser, Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Michael Fowler, Associate Professor of Chemical Engineering at the University of Waterloo, from February 2010 to February 2011. The findings will be useful to designers and prospective operators of electrified fleet vehicles.

REV and Burlington Hydro believe "hub and spoke" fleets, like the one operated by Burlington Hydro, potentially represent the best opportunity for initial widespread vehicle electrification. These fleets typically operate from a central point and deploy vehicles with predictable usage patterns. They are therefore ideal in respect to centralized re-charging infrastructure.

"There are thousands of fleets comprised of millions of vehicles across North America alone and they represent a significant proportion of vehicles on our roads, most of which are in daily use," Mr. Giraud said. "They include utility, couriers, mail, municipal vehicles and numerous other kinds of fleets. Therefore, using electric vehicles will deliver major, immediate environmental benefits for the fleet market today and other OEM platforms in the future."

About Rapid Electric Vehicles

Rapid Electric Vehicles of Vancouver, British Columbia’s mission is to become the leading supplier of grid smart, zero emission electric vehicle drive systems to global fleets and OEMs.

About Burlington Hydro

Burlington Hydro Inc. is an energy services based company in the power distribution business. The company serves over 58,500 residential customers, and approximately 5,500 commercial and industrial customers. It maintains 32 substations and almost 1,300 kilometers of low voltage distribution lines throughout the municipality and employs 95 people.