US telecommunications giant AT&T plans to invest up to $565m (£405m) to deploy more than 15,000 alternative-fuel vehicles over the next 10 years.
The company expects to spend an estimated $350m to purchase about 8,000 Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) vehicles and approximately $215m to begin replacing its passenger-car fleet with alternative-fuel models.
The investment represents the largest US corporate commitment to CNG vehicles to date. The new vehicles will bring AT&T’s alternative-fuel fleet to more than 15,000 vehicles by 2019.
The Center for Automotive Research (CAR) in Ann Arbor, Michigan, estimates that the new vehicles will save 49m gallons of petrol and reduce carbon emissions by 211,000 tonnes over a 10-year period.
Over the next five years, AT&T will replace about 8,000 petrol-powered service vehicles with vehicles powered by domestically available CNG. The CNG vehicles are expected to emit approximately 25 per cent less greenhouse gas emissions than those traditionally powered by gasoline.
The vehicle chassis will be built by a US automotive manufacturer. AT&T will then work with US suppliers to convert the chassis to run on CNG.
The company will also work with natural gas service providers to build up to 40 new CNG fuelling stations to provide the fuelling infrastructure needed for the vehicles.
In 2009, AT&T will deploy nearly 800 of the CNG and hybrid electric vehicles.