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TheStreet Open House

Verizon And VIA Motors Unveil Eco-Friendly, Extended-Range Electric Cargo Vans

DETROIT, Jan. 15, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- To address the need for more eco-friendly fleet vehicles, Verizon has collaborated with electric-vehicle developer and manufacturer VIA Motors to produce an extended-range electric cargo van.  VIA developed and built the van, based on Verizon's direction and fleet concepts, and expects it to achieve 100 miles per gallon with near zero emissions.  Verizon will now test and deploy two of the vans in New Jersey and New York.

Bob Lutz -- the legendary auto industry executive and father of the Chevy Volt, General Motors' electric car -- unveiled Verizon's new vehicle on Monday ( Jan. 14) at the North American International Auto Show.  "By demonstrating that going green can also be good business, large fleets like Verizon's can have a significant influence on the direction of the auto industry and help accelerate the adoption of clean vehicles like VIA's electric work vans,"  said Lutz, former vice chairman of General Motors and a VIA board member.

Ken Jack, vice president of fleet for Verizon, said: "We believe the challenges businesses face in operating sustainable fleets require an ecosystem of innovation.  Our collaboration focused on developing a more environmentally friendly cargo van, as cargo vans are widely used by large U.S. fleets and account for more than 30 percent of Verizon's fleet.  Electrifying these work vehicles could have a significant impact on a nationwide reduction in fuel consumption and CO2 emissions."

Because the average total miles per day traveled by Verizon's fleet is low, the company expects the new vans to operate entirely under electric power most days; doing so would annually reduce CO2 emissions by approximately 2.4 metric tons and reduce the use of petroleum fuel by about 750 gallons. 

The dashboard of the new van is equipped with a removable tablet, which aims to prevent distracted driving by providing voice prompts and easy-to-read route information.  Verizon will also provide technological capabilities, through its acquisition of Hughes Telematics, including fuel and route optimization, vehicle maintenance and diagnostics, emergency assistance, and voice and data services.

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