2018 Top 40 Under 40: Paul Cantin, C.E.T.

Sept. 14, 2018
Paul Cantin, C.E.T., Project Leader, New Product Development, New Flyer of America Inc.

After years of hydraulic and electrical engineering, Paul Cantin joined New Flyer as a senior designer in 2007. With Cantin at the healm, New Flyer developed the battery-electric Xcelsior CHARGE bus in 2012, which utilized many of the components he originally worked to simplify and electrify for other propulsion designs.

In his initial role, Cantin worked to improve hydraulic-powered systems, making them more reliable, efficient, and easier to install and service. His work enabled a more sustainable fossil-fuel bus with many simplified electrical components. This design would play an important role in the development of efficient electric-bus propulsion. In the beginning, one of Paul’s major projects was in accessibility, working as a senior designer to develop the industry-leading, single stage 1:6 slope self-contained drop-in Xcelsior wheelchair ramp.

Cantin’s next large project was to develop the Xcelsior XN60 CNG fuel storage and filling system, fundamental to the high-capacity 60-foot bus. The team cycle tested the energy guide system responsible for carrying high-pressure natural gas across an articulated joint and validated the associated roof structure durability through a full-life, entire bus shaker table test.

Cantin is responsible for managing the design team, production rollout, and maintenance hand over of the battery-electric bus models. His team has worked to make battery-electric buses significantly more energy-efficient than diesel and diesel-hybrid buses.

He continues to lead a design team responsible for the original development and continuous improvement of several energy storage systems, proprietary high-power, high-voltage charging systems, vehicle charging interfaces, electric propulsion drive systems, hydrogen fuel systems, hydrogen fuel-cell systems, and cabin heating systems paving the way for a full battery-electric product family, including hydrogen fuel-cell range-extended battery buses.

“Try to understand the "why" or the context behind why current systems are the way they are. If you are developing new products or systems, you need to understand the story behind the incumbent product — not just how was it created but why, when, by whom, for what purpose? What was their objective at the time? What were their limitations or constraints? With a full understanding of the systems you are working to improve upon and how they came to be, you can make day to day decisions that are grounded in the understanding of what you are truly trying to achieve.”

Fact: Cantin is a Certified Engineering Technologist and volunteers as a mentor, working to facilitate job placement for immigrants with engineering backgrounds within the Canadian job market.