W&M Construction of Stamford, Conn., is converting its entire fleet of Dodge Ram pickups and Dodge Durangos to Ford Escape Hybrids in a drive to promote and use environmentally friendly technologies, says Tim Yahn, president of W&M Construction.
Through an agreement with Ford, the firm accepted delivery of its first six Escape Hybrids in November. Eventually, the other vehicles in W&M Construction’s 22-vehicle fleet will be replaced with hybrids.
Gerry Koss, marketing manager for Ford fleet operations, says that W&M’s move is part of a definite trend that has seen companies switching to environmental vehicles. Goss says that interest in alternative fuel vehicles has increased in the past 10 to 20 months driven by escalating fuel prices and the events following Hurricane Katrina.
“Many fleet customers are looking to reduce fuel costs, and hybrids have proven to do that,” says Koss. “There’s also been a renewed emphasis on building a positive environmental image for companies and many have used alternative fuel vehicles as a way to demonstrate their environmental commitment.”
Koss says that this growing trend is still in its infancy, and unlike W&M Construction who’s converting the entire fleet, many customers add a few to the fleet to test the benefits before buying more.
“We haven’t been aggressively pushing them but we’ve been pleased with the customers that have purchased them,” says Koss. “If they’re fuel economy focused, I get letters that say the Escape Hybrid is every thing they expected it to be.”
The Escape Hybrids will be used by project managers and construction site supervisors whose day-to-day activities require them to drive from job to job.
“We pride ourselves on integrating green technologies into our business,” says Yahn. “The hybrids reflect this ongoing mission, as they reduce our dependence on gasoline. These six vehicles alone will drive a total of approximately 100,000 miles in their first 12 months with our firm. That’s a lot of gasoline saved, and a lot of carbon that will not be emitted into the air where we do business.”
W&M Construction is open to other alternatives currently under development at Ford. “There’s a hydrogen vehicle in the works at Ford, for example. We’ll be eager to try it out once it is introduced. We understand our industry’s impact on the environment, and we are trying to reduce our environmental footprint.”