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Azure Dynamics Lands Record Hybrid Truck Order

Purolator looks to alternative power for delivery fleet.

by on Jan.17, 2011

A Transit Connect Electric van under construction at Azure's suburban Detroit facility.

Azure Dynamics has landed a record order for hybrid delivery trucks from global shipping company Purolator, the start-up firm will announce later today.

While miniscule compared to the sales numbers of passenger car hybrids, like the Toyota Prius or Ford Escape Hybrid, the 600-unit order underscores the shift from conventional to alternative power beginning to sweep through the commercial vehicle market.

A senior official with Canadian-based Azure Dynamics estimate that, “on the conservative side,” hybrids could soon account for anywhere from 5% to 10% of the medium-duty truck market, or as much as 30,000 units in a healthy U.S. market.  And demand could grow substantially, forecasts CEO Scott Harrison, if fuel prices keep climbing.

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The Purolator order, which will be delivered over the next three years, represents “a significant turning point” for Azure Dynamics, one of the two major players in the commercial hybrid truck market.  The firm has been steadily narrowing the losses Harrison says are to be expected of a player in such an emerging market, one where start-up costs are substantial.

“We could come pretty close to cash flow breakeven this year,” Harrison said during an interview with TheDetroitBureau.com.

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