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Green Fleet Briefing: Veolia, British Gas, Vision Industries, Toyota

Here’s the latest alternative fuel and energy-efficient vehicle news affecting environmental and energy executives.

Baltimore’s first propane autogas taxi fleet was launched this week. Veolia Transportation – which says it is the largest private provider of multiple modes of transportation in North America – is converting 300 of its taxis nationwide from gasoline to propane autogas. The company has also installed an autogas fueling station in Baltimore to serve 50 Checker and Yellow taxis.

British Gas has been trialling a Nissan electric e-NV200 test car for a few weeks at its Leicester and Newbury depots. Its job has been to help British Gas determine which of its 14,000 drivers’ daily travel patterns are most suited to an electric van’s typical working range, including getting to and from work. The van was run at maximum gross vehicle weight during the trial, which shadowed drivers from British Gas’ national network of trained engineers as they carried out their daily duties.

Total Transportation Services of Rancho Dominquez, Calif., will buy 100 hydrogen fuel cell plug-in hybrid Tyrano Class 8 Trucks from Vision Industries, according to Green Car Congress. The purchase agreement also allows TTS to purchase an additional 300 Vision trucks, bringing the total value of a contract to roughly $108 million dollars.

Toyota has announced the Japanese launch of the “Pixis Epoch”, the second passenger minivehicle to be sold under the Toyota brand. The vehicle will be sold through more than 200 Toyota dealerships nationwide. The vehicle boasts a fuel economy of 30.0 km/L (70.6 mpg) and what Toyota says is outstanding everyday utility. The Pixis Epoch represents the fourth vehicle supplied by Daihatsu Motor Co. Ltd. to TMC under an agreement reached in September 2010.

EVs based on gasoline powered car designs – such as the Chevrolet Volt (pictured) – are full of usability compromises, as areas such as the truck or passenger space are reduced to accommodate the EV’s bulky battery, according to Consumer Reports. The Volt is based on Chevy’s gasoline-powered Cruze. But to accommodate its inverted “T”-shaped battery, the central passenger seat has been replaced with an extra large console between the rear seats, according to the website.

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