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FORD ELECTRIC AND NATURAL-GAS VEHICLES IN PROJECT WITH TWO NEW YORK-BASED COMPANIES

 FORD ELECTRIC AND NATURAL-GAS VEHICLES IN PROJECT
 WITH TWO NEW YORK-BASED COMPANIES
 NEW YORK, April 15 /PRNewswire/ -- Two New York-based companies will participate in Ford Motor Company's demonstration programs to bring electric- and natural-gas-powered vehicles into widespread usage.
 Allegheny Power System, headquartered in New York City, will be one of the first companies in the world to take delivery of Ecostar electric vans, while Brooklyn Union Gas Company will be among the first to place Ford-engineered natural-gas-powered Crown Victorias in service.
 Both companies will use the vehicles in normal business functions to help Ford learn the technical and usage features customers will want in alternatively fueled vehicles.
 Making the announcement just before Earth Day and just after New York became the third state, after California and Massachusetts, to adopt the strict California emissions standards, Ford's John R. Wallace said, "We recognize that cars and trucks, while in universal demand, can have unwanted consequences. And we are determined to lessen any adverse effects connected to our products."
 Ecostar Electric Vehicles
 Ford early next year will become the first U.S. vehicle manufacturer to place this many modern electric-powered vehicles in customers' hands.
 Wallace, director of Ford's Electric Vehicle Program, announced at a news conference at the New York International Automobile Show that the Allegheny Power System will take delivery of four Ecostar electric vans next year for use in a variety of locations including Maryland, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia. The Ecostars will be used in regular fleet service, providing important test data for Ford, documenting actual operating experience.
 Standing in front of an Ecostar, Wallace commented, "You may not know by looking at it, but this vehicle represents the most revolutionary automotive development in our lifetime. And I commend the Allegheny Power System for their commitment to helping us understand this exciting technology.
 "They will be providing the feedback we need to make sure we put appealing and functional electric vehicles into service.
 "These Ecostars will perform the same tasks expected of conventional gasoline-powered trucks -- moving people and parcels, conveniently and efficiently. They will be tested in the heat and the cold. In the snow and in the rain. In stop-and-go traffic and on rural roads."
 This project is part of a larger program, to begin early next year, where Ford will put about 80 Ecostars into fleets in both the U.S. and Europe. It is the first step in Ford's plan to embark on full-scale production of electric cars and vans.
 Ford will not make electric vehicles generally available for sale, Wallace noted, "until we are certain they have the durability and quality that customers will demand."
 The Ecostar demonstration van will be powered by a sodium sulfur battery, a technology that Ford invented in 1965. Ford is the first company to use the sodium sulfur battery in a vehicle that customers will drive. Sodium sulfur has superior energy density and provides good driving range compared to some other battery technologies.
 The Ford Ecostar will have a range of 100 miles in city driving, a zero-to-50 speed of 12 seconds, a recharge time of 5-6 hours, a top speed of 70-75 miles per hour and an optional electric air conditioning system.
 An electric vehicle based on the European Escort van, the Ford Ecostar will be on display in the lobby of the Javits Center during the New York Auto Show. Another Ford electric vehicle -- the Connecta -- will be shown at the Ford Division exhibit. A futuristic electric- powered concept car, Connecta is designed to show how the Ecostar platform and its technology could evolve for use as a commuter car or "family taxi."
 Crown Victoria Natural Gas Vehicles
 Ford will place three natural-gas-powered 1992 Crown Victoria passenger cars with Brooklyn Union Gas Company as part of a demonstration program with selected gas utility companies in the United States and Canada.
 Brooklyn Union Gas Company will take delivery of the vehicles later this spring. The cars will be in service for up to three years, providing "real world" information on natural-gas system technology from a wide range of climatic conditions and usage patterns.
 "We're delighted to be working in partnership with Brooklyn Union Gas on this test fleet program," said Harvey Klein, manager of Ford's Alternative Fuels Engineering and Planning activity. "They'll be driving and evaluating several Crown Victorias to help further our development of this alternative fuel system."
 Ford selected the popular full-size Crown Victoria for this natural- gas program because its 4.6-liter modular V-8 engine offers leading technology and quality.
 The cars will be "dedicated" natural-gas vehicles (NGVs), operating solely on natural gas. Engines will have an increased compression ratio to take advantage of the high octane rating of natural gas for maximum power and economy. Four natural-gas cylinders, located in the rear axle area, will replace the present gasoline tank.
 The cars will have a driving range of about 200 miles. Early Crown Victoria prototypes passed a series of tests showing their response both at altitude and in hot weather to be similar to that of gasoline-powered counterparts.
 "Our goal," said Klein, "is to provide natural-gas vehicles that have quality and performance equal or superior to those of gasoline- powered vehicles."
 During the New York Auto Show, a natural-gas Crown Victoria will be in the Brooklyn Union Gas Company display at the City of New York exhibit. Another Ford natural-gas vehicle, the Explorer Drifter, will be in the Ford truck exhibit on the lower level.
 -0- 4/15/92
 /CONTACT: Beryl Goldsweig, 313-337-2456 (for electric vehicles), or Linda Lee, 313-845-5746 (for natural-gas vehicles), both of Ford/
 (F) CO: Ford Motor Company; Allegheny Power System; Brooklyn Union Gas Co.
 New York International Automobile Show ST: New York, Michigan IN: AUT SU:


JG -- DE022 -- 8821 04/15/92 15:07 EDT
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Date:Apr 15, 1992
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