July 22, 2003

Federal government releases report on advanced technology vehicles

Ottawa, Ontario – Transport Minister David Collenette has released Transport Canada’s first Advanced Technology Vehicles Program annual report.

“Road vehicles remain the single largest contributor to domestic air pollution and the largest consumer of fossil fuels, even though Canada has some of the most stringent national emissions standards in the world,” said Mr. Collenette. “The goal of the Advanced Technology Vehicles Program is to support the Government of Canada’s efforts to reduce smog and greenhouse gas emissions from transportation sources and achieve a transportation system for Canada that is environmentally sustainable.”

Transport Canada’s advanced technology fleet currently includes 86 vehicles, which use technology such as hybrid power trains, batteries, low carbon fuels, advanced gasoline and diesel engines.

Some of the findings of the annual report include the fact that the public reaction to small urban vehicles is positive, and that since advanced technology vehicles operate in the same manner as conventional ones, the transition to these vehicles will be largely seamless and transparent to Canadians.

Under the program, advanced vehicles and technologies from around the world that are, or soon will be, available are assessed through extensive tests, inspections and performance evaluations to determine their impact on safety, energy efficiency and the environment. Since 2001, more than 200 different tests and studies have been completed on elements such as fuel consumption, emissions, front and rear crash tests, seat belt anchorage, bumpers, and roof and side door strength. The information being gathered will determine if and how the vehicles and technologies can be used in Canada.

Among the interesting innovations found in the Transport Canada fleet are technologies such as idle stop, and new engine designs like the gasoline direct injection engine. Idle stop technology shuts off the vehicle’s engine during periods when it is not necessary to have it running and restarts it when there is power demand. The gasoline direct injection feature allows fuel to be injected directly into the combustion chamber of the engine, allowing it to operate more efficiently. Both these technologies can be applied to conventional vehicles and are estimated to improve fuel efficiency from eight to 15 per cent.

There are more than 18 million motor vehicles registered in Canada, which account for approximately one-third of the air pollution and one-quarter of the greenhouse gas emissions in the country.

The Advanced Technology Vehicles Program is a component of the Motor Vehicle Fuel Efficiency Initiative, announced in June 2001, as part of the Government of Canada’s Action Plan 2000 on Climate Change. The initiative is designed to improve new motor vehicle fuel efficiency in Canada.

The report is available on the Transport Canada Web site.

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