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DOWNEY FORD NAMED ONE OF FIRST DEALERSHIPS IN CALIFORNIA TO SERVICE ELECTRIC VEHICLES

 DOWNEY, Calif., April 14 /PRNewswire/ -- Downey Ford has been chosen by Ford Motor Company (NYSE: F) as one of the first two dealerships in California authorized to provide service to its electric vehicles.
 Downey Ford will service Ford Ecostar electric vehicles leased by Southern California Edison. Downey Ford is one of four dealerships in the U.S. authorized to service Ford electric vehicles.
 Ford will begin delivery of 82 Ecostars to several companies in the U.S., Europe and Mexico later this year. Up to 10 will be leased to Southern California Edison for a 30-month evaluation program. The Ecostars will be used daily by Southern California Edison in their working fleet and also may be field tested by additional local utilities, fleets or individuals in the area.
 "Ecostars will be driven in real working environments for several years before we will be satisfied enough to make electric vehicles generally available for sale," said John Wallace, director of Electric Vehicle Technology Programs. "We aren't going to put Ford electric vehicles on public sale until we are certain they meet quality and customer-satisfaction standards."
 Ecostar is based on the European Escort van, a small, front-wheel- drive delivery vehicle. (There is no comparable model in the North American-built Escort line.)
 The electric vehicles are being modified in the U.S. to accommodate an electric motor, single-speed transaxle, electronic controls and a sodium-sulfur battery. Ecostar can reach speeds up to 75 miles per hour and has a driving range of 100 miles before needing a recharge.
 The drive/motor transaxle consists of a high-speed three-phase AC (alternating current) motor integral with a single-speed transaxle. Compared to equivalent DC (direct current) systems, the AC motor works at a higher rate of efficiency, is generally more durable, and is smaller, lighter and less expensive to produce.
 Lightweight materials are extensively used -- magnesium for the transaxle case, aluminum alloy for the wheels, air-conditioner compressor and power electronics center, and composite materials for the rear springs, load floor and bulk head.
 As a result, Ecostar's curb weight is only 3,100 pounds. Yet it has a payload capacity of about 900 pounds, significant for an electric vehicle of its size.
 Ecostar has a high-efficiency climate control system, low rolling- resistance tires and regenerative braking to assist in battery charging.
 For users who need greater driving range, a small auxiliary internal combustion engine that drives a battery-charging generator will be available as an option. The "hybrid-electric" version's driving range is about 250 miles.
 Ecostar has an on-board charging system that can be connected to any 220 volt/30 amp or 110 volt/15 amp (normal household current) outlet for recharging. No special wiring is required. Full recharge time is approximately five hours for 220 volts, 18-20 hours for 110 volts.
 -0- 4/14/93
 /CONTACT: Jessica Hatchigan of Ford Motor Company 313-845-5746; or Richard Schweinberg of Southern California Edison, 818-302-8295/
 (F)


CO: Ford Motor Company; Downey Ford; Southern California Edison ST: California, Michigan IN: AUT SU: PDT

JG -- DE005 -- 5628 04/14/93 10:46 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Apr 14, 1993
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