The Car and Truck Fleet and Leasing Management Magazine

Green Fleets Utilize GM E-85 and Hybrid Vehicles

September 2007, by Cheryl Knight - Also by this author

A leader in alternative-fuel technology and innovation, General Motors often works with businesses to turn their fleets “green.” And with an alt-fuel product lineup that includes E-85, hybrid, electric, and biodiesel models, GM works closely with companies to find the right vehicles for their needs. Finding effective vehicles and staying within a budget present significant challenges to some fleet managers. GM asks each organization it works with to define its ultimate goals for “going green.” Whether the answer is to achieve better fuel economy, reduce use of petroleum, lower greenhouse gases (GHG), or all of the above, the automaker then advises customers on the best path for the best results.

Two companies GM has helped implement alternative-fuel vehicles into their fleets are Novartis Pharmaceuticals and Bausch & Lomb. These companies are reducing fuel spend and vehicle emissions after deploying alt-fuel vehicles in their fleets.
GM Helps ‘Green’ Novartis Fleet
The Pharmaceuticals Division of Novartis is recognized worldwide for the innovative medicines they provide to patients, physicians, and healthcare organizations. With U.S. headquarters in East Hanover, N.J., this growing business develops and markets patent-protected prescription drugs for health needs. The company’s products are concentrated in the following major therapeutic areas:

  • Cardiovascular & Metabolism.
  • Oncology & Hematology.
  • Neuroscience.
  • Respiratory.
  • Infectious Diseases, Transplantation, & Immunology.
  • Ophthalmics, Dermatology, Gastrointestinal, & Urinary.
  • Arthritis & Bone.

    About two years ago, Novartis Pharmaceuticals began working with GM to implement alt-fuel vehicles in its fleet to reduce harmful emissions and curb rising fuel costs. Currently, the company has approximately 1,000 E-85 Chevy Impalas driven by company sales reps.

    “We’re looking for more fuel-efficient vehicles to add to our fleet that can meet the business requirements of our sales reps,” said Paul Tomaszeski, executive director of business support services at Novartis Pharmaceuticals. “GM has been an excellent partner in this initiative.”
    Paul Tomaszeski, Novartis Pharmaceuticals executive director of business support services, says GM has been an “excellent” partner in adding more fuel-efficient vehicles to its fleet.

    Novatis has also added 100 Saturn VUE Green Line’s to its fleet in 2007. The SUVs have been very favorably received at the manager level. “They are getting excellent gas mileage and, at the same time, our driver satisfaction has been very high in that vehicle,” Tomaszeski said.

    The VUEs replace vans or small SUVs in the fleet, and vehicle mileage has gone from 18-19 mpg to 26-27 mpg.

    Novartis plans to add the 2008 Saturn Aura Green Line hybrid to its fleet. And Tomaszeski said the company is also looking forward to adding the 2008 Malibu hybrid. “One key is that GM has been very clear about how its product and model lineup can contribute toward our environmental initiative,” he said.

    The major challenge Novartis faces with its alt-fuel vehicles is finding E-85 fueling stations. While each sales rep is aware their vehicle is E-85 compatible, drivers primarily in the Midwest take advantage of the fuel since it is more accessible. “If E-85 was more available, we could use more vehicles,” Tomaszeski said.
    Bausch & Lomb Expands Vision of Alt-Fuel/Hybrid Future
    Bausch & Lomb, headquartered in Rochester, N.Y., is dedicated to perfecting vision and enhancing life for consumers around the world. Its core businesses include soft and rigid gaspermeable contact lenses and lens care products, as well as ophthalmic surgical and pharmaceutical products.

    The company’s alt-fuel fleet features the Chevrolet Impala, Uplander and Express vans, as well as Saturn VUE Hybrids. Plans are in place to deploy Saturn Aura and Chevy Malibu Hybrid units later this year and into 2008.

    In the 2007 model-year, the company piloted use of 12 Saturn VUE Hybrids in large metro cities, including Los Angeles, Atlanta, and New York. Driven by its U.S. commercial sales organization (including vision care, pharmaceutical, and surgical sales reps), Bausch & Lomb’s alt-fuel and hybrid vehicles are targeted for replacement after 36 months, but fleet management will conduct ongoing analysis to determine a best practice.

    According to Mark Dennis, who manages Bausch & Lomb’s fleet operations, overall driver feedback has been very favorable. As a result, future fleet strategy is targeted at deploying smaller four-cylinder models and additional hybrids, such as the new Chevrolet Malibu, Saturn Aura, and Saturn VUE across the U.S. and Canada. Dennis will phase in more fuel-efficient vehicles during normal replacement schedules.
    According to Bausch & Lomb Fleet Operations Manager Mark Dennis, the company has deployed a dozen Saturn VUE Hybrids in large metro cities, including Los Angeles, Atlanta, and New York, as part of a pilot program.

    “Driver response and feedback have been extremely positive, especially with the Saturn Aura model that was just introduced this year,” Dennis said. “Positive comments about design, handling, fuel efficiency, and safety, especially with On-Star, have been the most common.”

    Dennis hopes to phase out use of SUVs and other large fuel-consuming vehicles by implementing smaller more fuel-efficient models. Bausch & Lomb’s 2007 Fleet Management Initiative aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and cut costs.

    “Considering Bausch & Lomb is in the healthcare business, sustainability and social responsibility is very important in the eyes of our consumers,” said Dennis.

    While the company’s alt-fuel and environmental initiative is relatively new, Bausch & Lomb has already reduced SUV utilization by more than 60 percent, and fuel ratings for all new models deployed in its fleet are anticipated to run approximately 24 mpg by year end versus 19 mpg at the beginning of 2007.

    “Key environmental modules compiled by our fleet service provider PHH Arval reveal that replacement models put into service in 2007 have reduced GHG emissions by 32 tons year-to-date, with 100 tons projected by year end,” Dennis said.

    Moving into the future, Bausch & Lomb fleet operations has expressed an interest in participating with GM in fuel cell development. In addition, the company plans on piloting the dual-mode hybrid system in the full-size Tahoe and Yukon Hybrid vehicles.

    “Additionally, future business developments may lead to deploying a number of Silverado pickup trucks that will be offered with the active fuel management system,” Dennis said.

Twitter Facebook Google+


Please note that comments may be moderated. 
Leave this field empty:

Fleet Incentives

Determine the actual cost of owning and running a vehicle in your fleet. Compare vehicles by class and model.


Fleet Faq Fuel Management

Bernie Kanavagh from WEX will answer your questions and challenges

View All


Fleet Tracking And Telematics

Todd Ewing from Fleetmatics will answer your questions and challenges

View All


Fleet Management And Leasing

Merchants Experts will answer your questions and challenges

View All


Sponsored by

Accident management refers to a program wherein the leasing company or fleet management supplier handles some or all aspects of an accident in which a covered vehicle is involved.

Read more

Up Next

More From The World's Largest Fleet Publisher