AT&T's service plans may be as confusing as the best (or worst) episode of Lost, but the company's plans for its auto fleet are plain as day: over the next ten years, the company will drop a cool $565 million on hybrid and natural gas vehicles. In practical terms, that means about 8,000 natural gas vehicles (primarily trucks) at $350 million, with the remaining $215 spent on passenger vehicles (presumably hybrids). Most of those vehicles will come from Ford.
Under normal circumstances, we might be a little skeptical about such a move and inclined to think that it's just a marketing gimmick. But half a billion dollars is a substantial sum, meaning that either AT&T is very serious about alternative-fuel vehicles, or they've got a very pricey sense of humor. So far, the company is spinning it as a smart investment that will help provide jobs for Americans:
"While there are no easy solutions to the challenges facing our nation, this investment is a first step on our part to help boost other industries while at the same time encouraging wider use and production of efficient vehicles and domestic fuel alternatives,” said AT&T Chief Executive Randall Stephenson.
In other words, it's good for business, the environment, and the country. (And AT&T's brand.) It's hard to argue with that. As long as the new fleet crashes less than AT&T's telecommunications network, the company ought to be in great shape.