Verizon today showcased some of the newest energy-efficient additions to its motor vehicle fleet at an event attended by President Barack Obama. Verizon, which has the third-largest corporate vehicle fleet in the nation, was among five companies recognized by the president for adding substantive numbers of green vehicles.
Verizon displayed three of its latest energy-efficient vehicles at the event, which featured alternative-energy trucks and cars operated by some of the nation's largest corporations.
"We're bringing environmentally friendly innovation and advanced technologies to our motor fleet operations," said Jim Gowen, chief sustainability officer for Verizon. "By seizing the opportunity to help improve the environment, our vehicles are saving energy, reducing emissions and improving our greenhouse gas profile."
At the event, held at a UPS facility in Landover, Maryland, Verizon displayed a hybrid Chevrolet pick-up, an all-electric Chevrolet Volt and a first-of-its-kind hybrid aerial-splicing vehicle. Over the past few years, the company has added hundreds of hybrid Toyota Priuses, as well as more than 500 compressed natural gas vans and 700 hybrid pickups.
Verizon is the first communications company to engineer and deploy a hybrid fiber splicing unit. Because of their weight, these vehicles (commonly known as "bucket trucks") traditionally consume significant amounts of fuel. To reduce fuel consumption, the company incorporated a hybrid engine and innovative, onboard batteries that assist in the vehicles' acceleration, and power the bucket lift and lighting units.
"We're replacing less-efficient vehicles with transformational, energy-efficient cars and trucks -- a move that will have a long-term impact on reducing and improving fuel consumption and reducing pollutants," said William Roberts, president of Verizon Maryland and the District of Columbia. "This event is a clear example of what happens when companies are allowed to innovate and deploy different technologies to meet their needs while achieving our shared environmentally positive goals."
Verizon was also the first company in the nation to deploy hybrid pickup trucks on a large scale, in a commercial setting. Last year, Verizon deployed more than 700 of these vehicles -- which improve fuel efficiency by 50 percent and reduce carbon dioxide by 43 percent -- and plans to purchase up to 300 additional units in 2011.
The company will also add several new all-electric Chevrolet Volts to its fleet in 2011. The Volts can travel up to 350 miles on a single charge.
Verizon has implemented other environmentally friendly programs in its fleet operations, including an energy-saving initiative that requires drivers to turn off vehicles instead of letting them idle. This program saved 1.7 million gallons of fuel in a single year, equivalent to eliminating more than 33 million pounds of CO2.
Verizon's telematics program leverages the company's wireless LTE network to integrate fleet global positioning systems and on-board diagnostic data to monitor and further minimize fuel consumption, speeding and poor driver habits that contribute to energy waste and consumption.
Verizon now has nearly 2,000 alternative-fuel vehicles in its fleet, and plans to have up to 15 percent of it operating with alternative fuels by 2015.