DEARBORN, MI - SimplexGrinnell, a Tyco International Company and fire and life safety systems and services provider, recently ordered 200 Ford Fusion Hybrids as part of a company-wide effort to replace 25 percent of its sales fleet with hybrid vehicles.

With 7,000 vehicles comprised primarily of large commercial trucks and vans, the fleet includes 2,000 cars used by company sales and leadership staff. The Fusion Hybrids "are a perfect fit" for these employees, according to Jim Spicer, president of SimplexGrinnell.

"The Fusion Hybrids will provide us with much greater fuel savings and CO2 reductions compared to the conventional gas vehicles they are replacing," said Spicer.

Headquartered in Boca Raton, Fla., SimplexGrinnell operates in 150 locations throughout the U.S. and Canada. According to Janice Buxton, senior manager of Fleet Services for SimplexGrinnell, the Fusion Hybrids will be used primarily in major metropolitan areas where employees do city driving of less than 2,500 miles per month. In order to achieve full efficiency, the company will start placing the hybrids in fairly neutral climates, but will look to expand use in more demanding areas.

The 200 Fusion Hybrids support a Tyco company-wide environmental program to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, waste and water consumption by 25 percent over the next five years. The program, known as "Vital World," includes a series of steps the company is taking around the world to reduce its impact on the environment and to help customers reduce theirs.

In addition to contributing to the company-wide initiative to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the Fusion Hybrids also may be used by employees participating in the EcoWheels Green Driver Challenge, organized by Wheels, Inc., SimplexGrinnell's fleet management company. The program encourages drivers to commit to practices such as reducing idling time, checking tire pressure, and planning routes more efficiently. It began April 22 and runs through July 1.

Drivers register at a special Web site and make a pledge to take sustainable actions. The web site calculates the CO2 output that each pledge will save and the impact of that reduction in the equivalent number of trees planted.

"Our company is strongly committed to the environment and to reducing our carbon footprint," said Spicer. "By participating in the Green Driver Challenge, we can engage our drivers to do their part in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and add the incentive of tracking in real time the positive effect their commitment has on the environment."

Spicer signed on for the challenge himself and encouraged each member of his senior leadership to do the same.

"The program has been well received, and we're working to increase participation, both among our fleet drivers and our employees in their personal vehicles," said Buxton. "Based on enrollment so far, we will be saving more than 93,000 lbs. of CO2, which is the equivalent of planting roughly 6,500 trees. We're looking forward to seeing how employees driving the new Fusion Hybrids will impact those numbers."

In addition to the Fusion Hybrid, SimplexGrinnell also purchased 200 units of Ford Focus, 50 of Taurus, 28 Fusion gas models, and "a handful" of Edge vehicles.

"All of the vehicles were chosen based on their suitability for the job, operating cost, and fuel efficiency," said Buxton.

Buxton says SimplexGrinnell also is looking to integrate the Ford Transit Connect into its fleet. "We're working to determine where the best fit might be for the Transit Connect," said Buxton.