Building power systems for low emission trucks expected to create 100 jobs in Kelowna | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Building power systems for low emission trucks expected to create 100 jobs in Kelowna

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A “micro-factory” is under construction in the Kelowna Airport Industrial Park that will build battery packs and hydrogen fuel storage systems for some of the biggest trucks hauling freight on North American highways.

Hexagon Purus announced the project today, Aug. 10. When it opens next summer, the 60,000 square foot facility will employ more than 100 workers.

This at a time when there’s not a single hydrogen fuelling station in Kelowna, although one is in the works.

READ MORE: First step to welcoming hydrogen vehicles on the horizon for Kelowna

This is a rendering of the new Hexagon Purus mini-factory in Kelowna.
This is a rendering of the new Hexagon Purus mini-factory in Kelowna.
Image Credit: Submitted/Hexagon Purus

“The hydrogen infrastructure, right now, has a lot of work to do,” Todd Sloan, executive vice-president, systems, for Hexagon Purus, told “This is very similar to where compressed natural gas was in the United States 20 years ago and now, we’ve built over 70,000 natural gas systems for trucks in that time.”

Sloan grew up in Kelowna and started a company in 2001 that later became part of the Hexagon Group, which has 1,200 employees around the world.

A news release describes the company as “a world leading provider of zero emission electric drivetrain solutions for commercial vehicles."

It takes standard diesel trucks and converts them to cleaner energy sources.

Hexagon Purus is a separate, publicly traded company that is 70 per cent owned by the group.

Their market is Class 6 to 8 trucks. Class 6 are things like cube vans while Class 8 are the big tractor-trailer units.

Much of Hexagon Purus’ market will be in the United States. There will be some trucks operating in the Port of Vancouver along with a small fleet in Kelowna that may also run to and from Vancouver in about two years, Sloan said.

“The demand for zero-emission transportation is rising, and the world is becoming ever more committed to combating climate change,” the news release read.

Sloan is not too concerned about attracting more than 100 workers into the very competitive Kelowna labour market.

“This is a highly technical product so we’re not competing with minimum wage jobs,” he said. “On the engineering side, it’s quite advantageous to be in Kelowna because we’ll be able to attract top talent because it’s such a beautiful place to live.”

Despite covering 60,000 square feet, the facility is termed a micro-factory because, rather than expanding on site, it will be the prototype for similar mini-factories that will be built across North America, Sloan said.

It will also serve as a research and testing centre.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Rob Munro or call 250-808-0143 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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