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

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David West
VIA Motors green van

DETROIT – 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 CO2emissions 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.

“The collaboration with Verizon has quickly resulted in new innovations in its fleet, and we look forward to demonstrating the robust durability and economy of VIA’s technology in the field.” said Alan Perriton, president of VIA Motors.  “Verizon’s dedication to green fleet solutions is setting an example for companies that seek to reduce the environmental footprint and operational costs of their fleets.”

Overall, VIA anticipates the Verizon electrified work vehicles should improve fleet fuel economy by up to 300 percent while cutting emissions in half or more.  The vehicles have up to 40 miles of all-electric range, using technologically advanced lithium ion batteries, with the added capability to drive additional miles by using VIA’s onboard electric generator, or “range extender.”  The vehicle can be charged overnight from a typical 110-volt household outlet for as little as $1 a day in some states.

In addition,  VIA’s exportable power system option can provide 15 kilowatts of continuous 110-volt or 220-volt power for emergency or job-site application, a much cleaner alternative to conventional stationary-power generation.

“We anticipate that the 15 kilowatts of clean mobile power generation provided by the vans will be of great value in emergencies like Hurricane Sandy, and in everyday use, to reduce stationary emissions and provide greater service capabilities,” Verizon’s Jack said.

A Track Record of Sustainable Business Practices

Over the past five years, Verizon has been implementing a myriad of solutions to reduce the carbon footprint of its fleet, including vehicle technologies like all-electric, hybrids and alternative fueled vehicles, and processes such as improved routing, reduced idling, and improved tire-efficiency and pressure-monitoring processes. In addition, Verizon has a robust sustainability strategy that includes an e-waste recycling program, smart buildings and an aggressive commitment to various ENERGY STAR programs. The strategy supports Verizon’s goal of cutting by 50 percent its carbon intensity – the company’s main sustainability metric that measures the amount of energy needed to transport a terabyte of data over its networks – by 2020.   

Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE, Nasdaq: VZ), headquartered in New York, is a global leader in delivering broadband and other wireless and wireline communications services to consumer, business, government and wholesale customers.  Verizon Wireless operates America's most reliable wireless network, with nearly 96 million retail customers nationwide.  Verizon also provides converged communications, information and entertainment services over America's most advanced fiber-optic network, and delivers integrated business solutions to customers in more than 150 countries, including all of the Fortune 500.  A Dow 30 company with $111 billion in 2011 revenues, Verizon employs a diverse workforce of 184,500.  For more information, visit www.verizon.com.

About VIA Motors
VIA Motors is a privately held electric vehicle development and manufacturing company. VIA employs a streamlined second stage manufacturing process to integrate its proprietary V-DRIVE™ electric power train into new OEM vehicles, then sells directly to fleets under the VTRUX™ brand name.  VIA VTRUX deliver up to 40-mile battery range and unlimited extended range, averaging up to 100 mpg in typical daily driving. For more information visit: VIAmotors.com.  To see a video with Bob Lutz introducing VIA’s VTRUX go to http://viamotors.com/erev