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AT&T puts in record-setting order for CNG natural gas vans

AT&T has ordered 1,200 Chevrolet Express dedicated compressed natural gas (CNG) cargo vans, its largest-ever order of CNG vehicles from General Motors.

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The vans will be deployed to AT&T service centers nationally. The order is the beginning of the company's plans to invest up to $565 million for about 15,000 alternative fuel vehicles through 2018. The vans will enter AT&T's service fleet to maintain communications, high-speed Internet, and television services for customers.

The Chevrolet Express CNG vans are dedicated natural gas vehicles using the Vortec 6.0-liter V8 engine equipped with hardened exhaust valves and intake exhaust valve sets to improve durability in gaseous delivery. The vans are some of the few available for CNG-only operations that can be ordered direct from the factory as natural gas vehicles with the gas system factory-engineered and integrated. The vans come in 200 mile and 300 mile options, depending on storage tank volume and customer need. AT&T is ordering a mix of range options.

Chevrolet offers the CNG option for fleet purchase of the Express 2500 and 3500 Cargo models and the vans are delivered with GM's 3-year, 36,000-mile warranty on the vehicle and 5-year, 100,000-mile warranty on the powertrain. The vans meet all Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and California Air Resources Board (CARB) emission certifications.

Compressed natural gas has several advantages for the fleet, including much lower emissions and fuel costs compared to gasoline and diesel. Most natural gas is regionally or locally produced, so its lifecycle emissions (production, transport, storage, and use) are much lower than most other fossil fuels.

“CNG technology is important to AT&T because it helps us reduce our fleet-based carbon emissions,” said Jerome Webber, AT&T vice president of Fleet Operations. “It is also cost-effective and readily available in our country right now.”

The vans are built primarily at General Motors' IMPCO plant in Union City, Indiana.

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