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Verizon, UPS, Cox Expand Their Green Fleets

Verizon is doubling its fleet of hybrid sedans, UPS will add zero-emissions vans to routes in the United Kingdom and Germany, and Cox Communications is getting hybrid bucket trucks for operations in six states.

The firms announced their efforts to bump up the number of eco-friendly vehicles in their fleets last week.

Verizon is adding 100 Toyota Prius hybrid sedans to its nationwide fleet, a move that doubles the number of hybrid sedans in its motorpool and brings the total to 200. The new cars will be used in California, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Washington, D.C. Verizon started phasing in hybrid sedans in late 2007, when it put 100 of them on the road to replace traditional sedans.

The hybrids can achieve an mpg that is almost double that of conventional sedans of comparable size and emit less than half the carbon, the company said. With the 100 new hybrids, Verizon expects to save 16,000 gallons of fuel a year. The firm also estimated that it will cut greenhouse gas emissions by an estimated 1.4 metric tons per vehicle annually.

Verizon's other eco-friendly vehicles include 13 hybrid service vans, which were specially designed to the firm's specifications and put to work in Maryland and Texas in 2007.

In the U.K. and Germany, UPS facilities are poised to receive 12 electric delivery vehicles from British manufacturer Modec, the maker of the first purpose-built zero-emission van. Six vehicles are to be added to UPS routes in London in February and be based at the company's Camden facility. The site, which lies in London's Low Emission Zone, is the firm's central package hub in the capital. The other six vans will be used in Germany.

UPS tested a Modec van for nine months in London before ordering the others. In the trial, the van averaged 18 miles per day and its battery consumption amounted to 25 percent of a full charge per day. Each zero emission vehicle can travel 100 miles on one overnight charge, with batteries in future models set to increase the range to 150 miles per two- to three-hour charge, according to UPS.

Less than three weeks earlier, UPS announced in Atlanta that it ordered seven hydraulic hybrid vehicles for use in the U.S. as a result of a development partnership with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, diversified power management firm Eaton Corporation and truck and military vehicle-maker Navistar International Corporation.
Modec Zero-Emission Van for UPS

Capping the news about green fleets was an announcement by Cox Communications New England, which is getting an International DuraStar Hybrid Bucket Truck that is made by Navistar and uses a parallel-type, diesel-electric hybrid architecture from the Eaton Corporation.

Eaton's diesel-electric hybrid system incorporates an electric motor/generator between the output of an automated clutch and input of the automated transmission. Energy normally lost during braking is recovered and stored in batteries, and can be channeled back into the driveline during start and acceleration. Potential fuel savings is estimated at almost 60 percent in stop-and-start utility applications, Cox said.

News about the Rhode Island deployment follows Cox Communications' announcement in July that it is adding nine DuraStar hybrid trucks to its fleet for use in six states. Besides Rhode Island, the others are Arizona, California, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Virginia. Cox has more than 15,000 vehicles in its fleet. About 11 percent are eco-friendly: 257 are hybrids and 1,400 can run on biodiesel.

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