MASON, OHIO - Uniform supplier Cintas Corp. recently ordered 100 hybrid electric walk-in Ford vans, its first large-scale deployment of green technology, for use in its California vehicle fleet. Cintas currently manages more than 10,000 vehicles in its North American fleet and maintains an approximate 15-year lifecycle expectation for its vehicles.

The order is "a significant first step in establishing our commitment to a greener fleet, and being socially responsible," according to Dan Braun, senior vice president - Value Improvement Initiatives for Cintas. Braun noted the importance of the engine-off-at-idle feature to help reduce vehicle emissions during the fleet's daily operations.

The 100 units will be deployed in Sacramento, San Leandro, and Ontario, Calif., and will be the first large scale deployment of green technology in the Cintas fleet. Cintas will continue to evaluate further deployment of green fleet technology to additional Cintas locations in the United States and Canada.

Kenneth Hoglund, director - Fleet Management at Cintas, said the company "benchmarked other fleets that have incorporated Azure Dynamics technology; most notably Purolator Courier. Purolator has a fleet that operates in similar conditions to ours, and has operated the hybrid electric vans for several years. This gave us confidence in the Azure Dynamics van's ability to meet our durability and performance requirements," he said.

Azure's Balance Hybrid Electric drive system manages the conventional 5.4L Triton gasoline engine and the 5-speed automatic TorqShift transmission on the Ford E-450 chassis. The Cintas vans utilize a delivery body from Utilimaster in Wakarusa, Ind.

The new hybrid electric vehicles will qualify for a $25,000 per vehicle credit under California's hybrid voucher incentive program.