Greening Our Fleet

Burlington Hydro Zero Emissions 100 % Electric Vehicle
The use of electric vehicles will ultimately rely on electricity grid infrastructure capable of meeting the needs of vehicle users in a practical, efficient and cost competitive way.

You’ve read the headlines. Electric Vehicles – EV’s for short – will be arriving in new car showrooms very soon. This year in fact, consumers and businesses will be able to take the leap to a zero emission world.

EVs which rely solely on lithium-battery drive technology have tremendous promise to make the world a better place by reducing harmful emissions – which amount to roughly 12 tons of CO2 per vehicle per year.

But how practical are they? And what are the implications on electricity infrastructure in our homes and the community at large?

To help answer those questions, Burlington Hydro Inc. in April, 2010, took delivery of the first all-electric vehicle to be used in a commercial fleet application in Canada.

BHI Owns the First All-Electric Vehicle to be Used in a Commercial Fleet Application in Canada

The vehicle is now a part of the Burlington Hydro and GridSmartCity™ as part of a demonstration project, also the first of its kind that is studying the operating characteristics of an all-electric fleet in practical, real-world working conditions.

“The province of Ontario is leading 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 Ontario,” said Gerry Smallegange, President of Burlington Hydro.

“Burlington Hydro ultimately aspires to be in a position to offer its customers more solutions and options to manage their electricity use and electricity costs than any local distribution company in Ontario. The electric fleet vehicle demonstration project is part of this leadership commitment.”

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“Local Distribution Companies, such as Burlington Hydro, have an important role to play in the development of the potential for electric vehicles and in the development and provisions of recharging infrastructure, which is the critical ‘backbone’ for the proliferation of electric vehicle technology,” said Smallegange.

Burlington Hydro's Pure Electric Vehicle Demonstration, part of the GridSmartCity program, is a landmark research collaboration between industry, university and government partners. The Pure Electric Vehicle Demonstration project brings together utilities, industry, government and academia in a dynamic collaborative study. The Pure Electric Vehicle Demonstration Project will shed light on how our electricity systems and transportation systems will need to converge, in what is frequently called a “Smart Grid”, to make electric vehicles practical for widespread fleet applications.

Supported by $25,000 in funding by Transportation Canada, the demonstration project is designed to increase understanding of the operating characteristics of an all-electric fleet vehicle in practical, working applications, including its recharging patterns and requirements, how to optimize the usage and recharging cycle in a “real life” setting; overall performance, drive-cycle, battery state-of-health and electricity grid impacts.

The University of Waterloo will also develop assessment and management tools to assist with the integration of Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEV’s) and Pure Electric Vehicles (EV’s) into the electricity grid. The one-year study was supervised by Roydon Fraser, Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Michael Fowler, Associate Professor of Chemical Engineering, concluding February 2011. It included field tests, monitoring of the drive cycle, generation of battery life-cycle data, management of vehicle and grid performance data, and a final report and recommendations. The resulting findings will be useful to designers and prospective operators of electrified fleet vehicles. The data will also provide beneficial insight into comparative capital and operating costs key to making decisions on electric vehicle use.

Through the study, Burlington Hydro and its partners will also evaluate Smart Grid implications, including an assessment of “peak” versus “off-peak” electricity system demand impacts, and the potential to use PHEV batteries as storage for supplemental power to reduce peak loads on the electricity grid. This is an enabling technology for increased use of renewable power such as wind and solar in the electricity supply mix, and decreased use of traditional base load power sources such as fossil fuels.

McMaster University, recognized globally as a research intensive university – particularly in regards to automotive research – is taking a major and broad-scoping involvement in the Pure Electric Vehicle Demonstration.

The McMaster University researchers will examine several aspects of electric vehicles, especially where the evolution of the Smart Grid intersects with that of personal transportation and electric vehicles in particular. Staff, researchers and students at the Faculties of Engineering, Science, the DeGroote School of Business, and possibly other faculties, will be actively engaged with Burlington Hydro and the study partners, in a wide range of projects, including: • the performance of charging stations and the impact on utility operating systems • the behaviour of utility customer interaction with electric vehicles • examination of broader economic and market dynamics of charging models

McMaster University has distinguished itself internationally for innovative educational programming and research. Its numerous institutes, centres and laboratories collaborate on hundreds of research projects with the public and private sectors. Among its many Centres is the Initiative for Automotive Manufacturing Innovation, the Centre for Mechatronics and Hybrid Technologies, the McMaster Institute for Automotive Research and the McMaster Institute for Transportation and Logistics.

The charging station is installed at Pioneer Petroleums’ retail location as 4499 Mainway, Burlington. This is a milestone installation, representing the 1st electric vehicle charging station for Pioneer Petroleums. Eaton Corporation, the manufacturer of the charging station, selected the Pure Electric Demonstration Project, to showcase its premier installation. To learn about Burlington Hydro’s Pure Electric Vehicle and the emerging EV industry, visit