DALLAS - AT&T has an all-electric Smith Newton cargo truck purchased last year operating in its commercial fleet in St. Louis, the company said. AT&T also is buying two of the first all-electric versions of the Ford Transit Connect van.

Both vehicles are touted as having zero tailpipe emissions.

The Smith Newton, produced by Kansas City-based Smith Electric Vehicles U.S. Corp., is AT&T's first all-electric cargo truck. The world's largest electric battery-operated truck, the Smith Newton operates without normal engine noise and vibration, AT&T said. The vehicle stores electric energy through what's called "regenerative braking."

AT&T said it will be one of the first to buy the new Ford Transit Connect Electric, the all-electric version of the 2010 Ford Transit Connect, which was named North American Truck of the Year in January at the 2010 North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

The Ford Transit Connect Electric is powered by Detroit-based Azure Dynamics' Force Drive electric drivetrain with a lithium-ion battery from Johnson Controls-Saft. The vehicle goes on sale later this year.

"We are focused on driving down our dependence on imported sources of fuel and are open to alternative fuel resources that can reliably power our expanding fleet," Jerome Webber, vice president, AT&T Fleet Operations, said in a statement. "This is an investment that will pay off by reducing our emissions and boosting our fuel savings..."

AT&T has more than 77,000 vehicles in its commercial fleet. The recently added electric models are part of its planned $565 million investment in alternative-fuel vehicles announced in March 2009.

The company said it expects to spend about $350 million to purchase about 8,000 compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicles, and about $215 million to replace 7,100 fleet passenger cars with alternative-fuel models. Those moves will save 49 million gallons of gasoline over 10 years and reduce carbon emissions by 211,000 metric tons, according to the Center for Automotive Research.