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DETROIT EDISON JOINS FORD MOTOR CO. ELECTRIC VAN PROGRAM

 DETROIT EDISON JOINS FORD MOTOR CO. ELECTRIC VAN PROGRAM
 DETROIT, Jan. 7 /PRNewswire/ -- Extensive experience with the


operation and maintenance of electric vehicles made Detroit Edison (NYSE: DTE) the logical choice as a partner in Ford Motor Co.'s (NYSE: F) electric van demonstration program.
 Detroit Edison will have the only fleet of Ford Ecostar electric vans in Michigan as part of the automaker's 30-month program to road- test the vehicles and stimulate the creation of an appropriate infrastructure for servicing them. Detroit Edison will assist Ford in developing service and maintenance programs.
 "We are pleased to be in the forefront of an important program to introduce electric vans into commercial operation in the United States and Europe," said Larry G. Garberding, executive vice president of the Detroit-based utility.
 In the Ford program, Detroit Edison will take delivery of its first Ecostar in early 1993, with the remainder to follow later in the year. The utility will retain three vehicles for its own use and will sublease the others to selected commercial customers.
 Working with Ford, Detroit Edison will provide experience-based knowledge to help transfer electric vehicle technology to potential users, and service and maintenance personnel.
 The utility has numerous charging stations already in place in the Detroit area to provide power to recharge the battery systems.
 "Electric vehicles present an opportunity for southeastern Michigan to establish itself as the international research and development center for electric transportation technology," Garberding said.
 "This technology has already led to increased research and development activities and may lead to additional economic development opportunities. Detroit Edison will work with auto manufacturers and suppliers to encourage local economic development activities associated with electric vehicles."
 Beginning in 1993, Detroit Edison will lease 10 of the Ecostar vans Ford will make available to its partners in six diverse regions of the U.S. and Europe. Because the pilot program will focus on infrastructure requirements as well as on the performance of the vehicle, Detroit Edison has a natural role in any electric vehicle demonstration.
 In 1985, Detroit Edison became the first U.S. utility to conduct over-the-road evaluations of a mass-produced electric vehicle when it purchased six electric vans as part of another international evaluation program.
 Earlier, from 1981 to 1984, Detroit Edison operated two dozen compact cars that were converted to battery power. The two programs -- supported with funding from the U.S. Department of Energy -- gave the utility more than 700,000 miles of electric vehicle experience, more than any utility in the nation.
 Electric vehicle technology has advanced to a stage that makes them functionally adaptable to more potential applications. Market studies indicate there are more than 2 million light trucks and vans in the U.S. doing work which could be replaced by electric vans. In the Detroit Edison service area, nearly 50,000 commercial vehicles could be replaced by electric vehicles.
 Legislation has had a major impact on electric vehicle development. California law requires that 2 percent of the state's vehicles produce no exhaust emissions by 1998 and 10 percent by 2003. In addition, 12 states on the East Coast are considering similar legislation.
 Garberding noted the Ford program offers southeastern Michigan a way to diversify its economic base without moving far from its roots.
 "With legions of skilled workers, automotive engineers and specialists in every area of advanced technology, the area has the potential to become the electric vehicle capital of the world," Garberding said.
 -0- 1/7/92
 /CONTACT: Scott L. Simons, 313-237-8808, or Lorie N. Kessler, 313-237-8807, both of Detroit Edison/
 (DTE F) CO: The Detroit Edison Company; Ford Motor Company ST: Michigan IN: UTI AUT SU:


ML -- DE004 -- 7169 01/07/92 08:23 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Jan 7, 1992
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