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1992 NEW YORK INTERNATIONAL AUTOMOBILE SHOW: EXPLANATION OF THE CLEANER ALTERNATIVES TO TODAY'S FOSSIL-FUEL POWERED CARS

 1992 NEW YORK INTERNATIONAL AUTOMOBILE SHOW: EXPLANATION
 OF THE CLEANER ALTERNATIVES TO TODAY'S FOSSIL-FUEL POWERED CARS
 NEW YORK, April 8 /PRNewswire/ -- The environmental challenges of the next century have sparked one of the most massive automotive research and development efforts in history. As a result, the cars available to the public in the next decade will be radically different, changing even the most basic aspects of driving.
 Visitors to the New York International Automobile Show, April 18-26, at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, will see more than 20 different examples of these not-so-far-into-the-future environmentally friendlier automobiles. In fact, a wide variety of special exhibits will address issues, such as the environment and safety, as part of the show's theme, Responsible Motoring.
 "Everyone realizes developing a more environmentally-friendly car is essential to our future," said Martin Beiner, president of the Greater New York Automobile Dealers Association, sponsor of the auto show, "but people don't realize how this will affect the cars we drive. Even the most basic mechanical structures of the automobile, such as the spark plug and gas tank, will be altered."
 The environmental issue receiving the most attention is the push to lower emissions and minimize air pollution, but other environmental factors are demanding changes in fossil fuel consumption and recycling practices.
 Soon, engines will be powered by electricity or will have to accept a variety of different fuels plus be efficient, powerful and clean. Vehicle structures will have to be lightweight yet durable, strong and recyclable. Owners will have to adjust driving and maintaining these vehicles.
 In addition, forthcoming changes will require an overhaul in the infrastructure of our country including service stations, highways and our lifestyles in terms of driving habits.
 At a special responsible Motoring Exhibit in the Javitz Center lobby, a wide variety of displays, from all over the world, will serve to summarize the latest developments being made in response to environmental and safety concerns.
 "The public needs to learn about and understand these next- generation vehicles," said Beiner. "The role of the Auto Show is to bring product and public together, because eventually it is the customers who will decide whether to buy or them or not."
 Highlighting the Responsible Motoring Exhibit will be Chrysler's electric TEVan minivan, a methanol/gasoline-powered Mercedes-Benz 300SE, a compressed natural gas GMC Sierra pickup, a propane-powered Chevy 3/4 Ton pickup, a Variable Fuel Vehicle Chevrolet Lumina, a flexible-fuel Plymouth Acclaim, Volkswagen's multi-fuel Jetta, Ford's Ecostar electric delivery vehicle, a compressed natural gas Dodge Van and Saab's 9000 multi-fuel sedan.
 A City of New York Alternative-Fuel Vehicle Program exhibit will feature a flex-fuel Ford Taurus and an electric G van.
 In addition, an assortment of other alternatively powered cars will be on display at individual manufacturer's exhibits.
 Alternative-fuel vehicles are designed to lower or eliminate emissions, in order to meet two new standards: the 1990 Clean Air Act and, the far more stringent, California Requirements, which are now being considered by states across the nation including New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.
 The widely publicized California Emissions Requirements call for increasing production and sale of four progressively cleaner classes of low emission vehicles: Transitional Low Emission Vehicles (TLEV), Low Emission Vehicles (LEV), and Ultra-Low Emission Vehicles (ULEV), all of which will be either alternative- or flexible-fuel vehicles. The fourth class is Zero-Emissions Vehicles (ZEV) which will most likely be electrically-powered.
 Vehicles in each classification will be required to makeup a certain percentage of each manufacturer's total sales, starting with 20 percent TLEVs in 1996 and 2 percent ZEVs by 1998. By 2003, the law states 75 percent of all sales will be LEVs, 15 percent ULEVs and 10 percent ZEVs. Many of these sales will be through government and rental fleets, but a considerable portion will be marketed to the public.
 To meet these regulations, auto makers are developing alternative- fuels
and new propulsion systems such as electric motors. Many of the alternative-powered vehicles in display at this year's auto show are currently available or represent their maker's plans for meeting the new requirements.
 In order to meet the Low and Ultra-low emission levels, a variety of alternative-fuel programs are being developed by the auto and oil industries.
 The first step towards lower emissions is reformulated or oxygenate-blended gasoline, which mixes gasoline with oxygen-rich ether or ethanol, resulting in lower carbon monoxide and hydrocarbon emissions. All vehicles on the road today, even older models with carburetors, can function with the new reformulated gasoline.
 To achieve the next level of lower emissions, alcohol (methanol and ethanol) blended gasoline must be used by suitably-modified vehicles, many of which are currently used in various areas of the country. Called either flexible-fuel or variable-fuel vehicles, these cars and light trucks are designed to operate on different mixtures of fuels, ranging from 100-percent gasoline to 85- or 100-percent methanol. The most common mixture is 85-percent methanol/15-percent gasoline, known as M85 fuel.
 Flexible-fuel modified vehicles on display at the show include a Mercedes-Benz 300SE, Volkswagen Jetta, Saab 9000, Chevrolet Lumina, and Subaru Rioma concept all-wheel-drive sports car. Of special interest is a flex-fuel Plymouth Acclaim, which is the only vehicle capable of running on 100 percent methanol and will be on sale to the public in the fall.
 Natural gas is another fuel being researched and tested in various areas of the country. Yes, the same stuff used for cooking and heating homes, but it has to be compressed so it's called CNG (compressed natural gas).
 CNG powered trucks, primarily used for deliveries or service operations, have been on the road in New York and other metro areas around the world for several years.
 This year, visitors to the show will see three CNG-powered vehicles -- a full-sized Dodge Van and a full-size GMC Sierra pickup, which are both currently available, and the Ford Explorer Drifter concept CNG sport utility.
 Other fuel systems in development by the auto industry include Liquified Petroleum Gas (LPG) or propane, which has been used successfully for several years, and hydrogen which is the only fuel that delivers zero emissions.
 Hydrogen is one of the most abundant chemical elements on earth, but it is a long way from production due to various operating complications.
 Two vehicles on display run on these alternate-fuels: a propane- powered Chevy truck, and the Mazda HR-X prototype vehicle with a hydrogen-powered, rotary wankel motor.
 "At the auto show, visitors will have an opportunity to see the alternative- and flexible-fuel vehicles now being tested by many manufacturers, and learn how they work," Beiner said. "Most of these cars and trucks are on the road today, particularly in New York and California test fleets, and will be available for sale in the next few years."
 However, except for the Mazda, these are not zero emission vehicles. Today there are only two zero emission power sources -- electricity and hydrogen. And most auto makers have committed to producing electric vehicles as they hold the greatest promise to meet the zero emission goals.
 For an electrical vehicle to be practical for consumers it should gave at least a 100-mile driving range on a single charge and should be capable of sufficient acceleration to operate safely in traffic. Plus the vehicle must meet other standards taken for granted -- style, performance, safety and price.
 Today many manufacturers are close to building and marketing a practical electric vehicle. Visitors to the auto show will see many of them including: Ford's Ecostar delivery vehicle and Connecta family commuter vehicle, which both use sodium-sulfur batteries; the Nissan FEV, future electric vehicle, which uses 23 nickel-cadmium batteries and can be 100 percent recharged in 15 minutes; the BMW E2 American-designed commuter with a thermoplastic body, aluminum subframe and sodium-sulfur batteries; the Dodge Epic (electric powered interurban commuter) concept minivan and Chrysler TEVan minivan which both use nickel-iron battery packs.
 Currently there is no consensus on the ideal battery system -- the heart and soul of the electric car -- but the world's manufacturers are cooperating to reach one. The Big Three auto makers, General Motors, Ford and Chrysler, are united in this effort under the banner of United States Advanced Battery Consortium with the U.S. Department of Energy and the Electrical Power Research Institute.
 The goal of this organization is to identify the most promising battery technology and concentrate their research on it.
 Another possibility actively being tested is the hybrid vehicle, which merges two systems: the electric motor with battery pack and a small internal combustion engine. The electric power is used in urban areas where air pollution is a major problem. Once away from the area, on the open highway, the internal combustion engine kicks in, usually at highway speeds and propels the vehicle. The combustion engines are small, use clean fuels and recharge the batteries.
 In addition, various combustion motors, such as the two-stroke engine, are being developed in hopes of improving engine efficiency. One of the best examples of this two-stroke technology is found in General Motors' revolutionary Ultralite four passenger sedan which will be on display at the auto show.
 The 1,400-pound carbon fiber Ultralite sedan is able to achieve 100 miles-per-gallon and top speed of 135 miles-per-hour, thanks to its 111 hp, 1.5-liter two-stroke motor and wind cheating design.
 Also maximizing the benefit of the two-stroke motor is Chrysler's Cirrus concept vehicle, which uses a two-stroke motor powered by fuel- grade alcohol to generate 400 horsepower, and the Toyota AXV-IV concept runabout with a two-cylinder two-stroke motor.
 Whether it is a flexible- or alternate-fueled vehicle or a high-tech gasoline motor, it is obvious tomorrow's cars will be radically different than today's. Visitors to the New York Auto Show have the opportunity to see and learn all about the various systems currently under development.
 "The driving public will be impressed at the strides the industry is making in meeting environmental challenges," said Beiner, "and just as important they will see how the new technologies will affect their lives."
 92nd New York International Automobile Show
 April 18-26, 1992
 Jacob K. Javits Convention Center
 New York City
 For information: 800-282-3336
 Tickets: $8 adult, $2 children under 12
 Hours: Sunday: 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
 Monday to Saturday: 11 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.
 Responsible motoring means please buckle up.
 -0- 4/8/92
 /NOTE TO EDITORS: Press preview days are April 15-17. A special charity day will be held on the 17th and the doors will open to the general public on April 18. For media credential, press passes or more information, contact Stuart Schorr or Michael Geylin of Kermish-Geylin Public Relations, 212-315-4900, or at the BF Goodrich media center, 212-216-3323, Room 1-C03/04/05 at the Javits Convention Center, 655 West 34th St./
 /CONTACT: Stuart Schorr of Kermish-Geylin Public Relations, 212-315-4900, for 1992 New York International Automobile Show/ CO: 1992 New York International Automobile Show ST: New York IN: AUT SU:


SM-TS -- NY050 -- 6274 04/08/92 12:52 EDT
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