PHILADELPHIA — ARAMARK Uniform Services (AUS) is rolling out 25 hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) into its national fleet and anticipates having 78 hybrid step vans motoring along its service routes in 28 states by spring.
ARAMARK says it is the first commercial uniform supplier to introduce HEVs. The launch was made possible by a $2.7 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy and the Maryland Clean Cities Program, which is dedicated to stimulating alternative fuel and advanced technology in the transportation sector.
“We are proud to be the first commercial uniform provider awarded funding,” says Manuel Nieto, AUS vice president of Operations Support. “Energy conservation has always been AUS’ focus and the fleet’s expansion with hybrids is but one part of our comprehensive fleet-management program.”
The HEVs use the combination of an energy-efficient diesel engine and a battery-driven electric motor. When traveling under 30 mph, the hybrids run on electricity; when the speed increases, they shift to diesel-engine use. Therefore, the HEVs are being deployed to mostly urban areas with stop-and-go traffic and limited highway miles.
Regenerative braking converts energy normally wasted during braking into electricity to charge the motor’s battery.
Each hybrid reduces total greenhouse gases emissions by 30% and generates fuel-efficiency gains of 20-40% when compared to standard diesel models, AUS says. The company anticipates each HEV will save 500 gallons of gas per year.
Using global positioning system (GPS) devices in each fleet vehicle and routing software, AUS has sorted client accounts by similar locations and mapped out the most efficient and effective travel route between them.
“Our team continues to proactively introduce environmentally sound practices in all of our operations,” says Brad Drummond, AUS president. ”The addition of hybrid technology to our fleet services will complement all of our programs designed to reduce our environmental impact.”