Verizon Rolls Out Hybrid-Powered Van Pilot Project
– Verizon will soon begin a pilot project using 13 specially designed service vans with environmentally friendly hybrid-engine systems. Because no domestic motor vehicle manufacturer currently makes hybrid vehicles in the “van” category, Verizon worked closely with a company that specializes in hybrid- power systems, and it retrofitted the new vehicles to Verizon’s specifications. The retrofitting for the trial was done by Enova Systems Inc., located in Torrance, Calif.The vans, which have FiOS and green-energy markings on them, will serve some of Verizon’s FiOS Internet and TV customers here and in Texas. They will be put into service over the next several weeks.The vans’ gasoline- and electricity-powered engines could improve gas mileage by up to 50 percent over traditional internal-combustion engines, and have the potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 70 percent to 90 percent.“These retrofitted FiOS vans will allow us to evaluate hybrid technology,” said Kathryn Brown, senior vice president of public policy development and corporate responsibility for Verizon. “More importantly, as an operator of one of the largest private motor vehicle fleets in the U.S., we hope to send a message to automotive manufacturers that they should be manufacturing hybrid vehicles in all classes. There is a market here, especially for companies like Verizon that seek to minimize the environmental impact of their operations.”Verizon’s hybrid vans will be used by technicians who install and maintain the company’s digital all-fiber-optic FiOS services: FiOS Internet Service. The new vans use both a traditional gasoline-powered internal-combustion engine and a battery-powered electric motor. An onboard computer coordinates the use of either the internal-combustion engine or the electric motor, or both, depending on the driving conditions. When the internal-combustion engine is running, it charges the batteries for the electric motor. The net result is the vehicle uses less fuel and produces fewer harmful emissions such as carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide, and hydrocarbon gas.