Toronto Hydro-Electric System Limited (‘Toronto Hydro’) and smart Canada, a division of Mercedes-Benz Canada, today announced the launch of Canada’s first electric vehicle program designed specifically for automotive retail customers. As one of the first production electric vehicles available in the country, the technologically advanced smart fortwo electric drive will play an integral role in this pilot project, which has been formally named the Toronto Hydro smart Experience. In addition, Toronto Hydro and smart Canada are pleased to deliver the first smart fortwo electric drive today to a Toronto Hydro electric customer to officially launch the program.
The goal of the Toronto Hydro smart Experience is to study the driving patterns, charging habits and the impact on the electricity grid of the Toronto-area ‘lead ambassadors’ who will participate in this unique and informative pilot program. While other electric vehicle programs currently in the Canadian marketplace are geared to corporate fleets, this is the first program tailored specifically to automotive retail customers.
"The smart fortwo is recognized as a pioneer of intelligent transportation and has developed a loyal customer base in Canada since its introduction by setting numerous benchmarks for low emissions and exemplary fuel efficiency," said Marcus Breitschwerdt, President and CEO of Mercedes-Benz Canada. "Considering our ongoing commitment to innovation, the smart fortwo electric drive is a natural progression for the smart fortwo platform. Its state-of-the-art lithium-ion battery offers excellent performance and a generous range of approximately 135 kilometres when fully charged without producing any local emissions or compromising safety, agility, comfort, or interior space. This technologically-advanced two-seater will allow the smart fortwo to yet again redefine sustainable urban mobility."
Studying the potential impact on Toronto’s electricity infrastructure is a key element of the four-year pilot program. Toronto Hydro will also provide the lead ambassadors selected for the program with a charging station, a power meter and electricity, all at its own cost, for the duration of the pilot program.
"We like this project because it brings Toronto consumers into the picture," said Anthony Haines, President and Chief Executive Officer, Toronto Hydro Corporation. "This will provide Toronto Hydro with grassroots consumer feedback on electric vehicle use in an urban environment. Understanding the consumer’s electric vehicle experience on the street, and when plugging in, is critical to enabling us to build a modern grid in Toronto."
According to Pollution Probe, Toronto is an ideal place to launch this pilot because it provides a dense urban environment and heavy commuter traffic.
"Pollution Probe is excited to collaborate on this forward-thinking initiative," said Bob Oliver, Executive Director, Pollution Probe. "Pilot projects of this nature are the next logical step in the evolution of more sustainable transportation options for dense urban areas. The data gathered throughout this program will be invaluable, and it will ultimately help us to assess the needs of future electric vehicle programs."
Toronto Hydro customers interested in participating in this project are required to fill out a program application online at www.smartexperience.ca . A total of 15 vehicles will be made available to Toronto Hydro customers who meet all of the eligibility requirements. Since space is extremely limited, interested customers are asked to fill out the online application as soon as possible.
About Mercedes-Benz Canada
Mercedes-Benz Canada is responsible for the sales, marketing and service of the four brands within the Mercedes-Benz Group in Canada: Mercedes-Benz, smart, AMG, and Maybach. Headquartered in Toronto, Ontario, Mercedes-Benz Canada Inc. employs approximately 1,250 people in 19 locations across Canada. Through a nationwide network of 14 Mercedes-Benz owned retail operations and 39 authorized dealerships, Mercedes-Benz Canada sold 26,942 vehicles in 2009, the best year ever reported for Mercedes-Benz Canada Inc.
Toronto Hydro Corporation
Toronto Hydro Corporation is a holding company, which wholly-owns two principal subsidiaries:
· Toronto Hydro-Electric System Limited - which distributes electricity and engages in Conservation and Demand Management ("CDM") activities; and
· Toronto Hydro Energy Services Inc. - which provides street lighting services.
The principal business of the Corporation and its subsidiaries is the distribution of electricity by Toronto Hydro-Electric System Limited. Toronto Hydro-Electric System owns and operates an electricity distribution system, which delivers electricity to approximately 696,000 customers located in the City of Toronto. It is the largest municipal electricity distribution company in Canada and distributes approximately 18 per cent of the electricity consumed in Ontario.