Verizon Communications Inc. has launched a pilot project to retrofit its service vans with environmentally friendly hybrid-engine systems. Verizon is working with a company that specializes in hybrid power systems to retrofit the new vans, since no domestic vehicle manufacturers currently produce hybrid vehicles in the van category.
Verizon officials want this move to prompt domestic carmakers to deliver hybrid vans. “As an operator of one of the largest private motor vehicle fleets in the United States, we hope to send a message to automotive manufacturers that they should be manufacturing hybrid vehicles in all classes,” says Kathryn Brown, SVP of public policy development and corporate responsibility at Verizon. “There is a market here, especially for companies like Verizon that seek to minimize the environmental impact of their operations.”
Verizon’s retrofitted hybrid vans use both a traditional gasoline-powered engine and a battery-powered electric motor. An onboard computer coordinates the use of the two engines depending on driving conditions. When the internal combustion engine is running, it charges the batteries for the electric motor. The vans will be used by technicians who install and maintain the company’s digital fiber-optic services.