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FORD UNVEILS FLEXIBLE FUEL TAURUS AT DODGER STADIUM

 LOS ANGELES, June 17 /PRNewswire/ -- Ford Motor Co. (NYSE: F), along with the California Energy Commission and the south Coast Air Quality Management District, today delivered hundreds of 1993 Ford Taurus Flexible Fuel Vehicles (FFVs) to several prominent companies operating in Southern California. In all, more than 1,800 Taurus FFVs are being purchased by companies operating in the state. The deliveries took place at Dodger Stadium.
 The Taurus FFV can run on methanol or gasoline from a single fuel tank. This allows the vehicle to use the clean-burning, alternative fuel methanol in urban, smog-plagued areas and to use gasoline if methanol is not available. Ford announced earlier this week that production of the Taurus FFV will be extended through the 1994 and 1995 model years.
 "This is just another indication of how at Ford Motor Co., alternative fuel vehicles are moving out of the research labs and quickly into the hands of drivers where their true economic and environmental benefits can be realized," says Lou Ulrich, with Ford Fleet Sales in Southern California.
 The event was held at Dodger Stadium -- which had a parking lot large enough to accommodate the scores of cars. The vehicles were lined up for the event to spell out the letters F-F-V, 300 feet tall by 500 feet wide, making a dramatic shot for Los Angeles television stations' helicopter news crews.
 "Ford has hit a grand slam with the Taurus FFV," said California Energy Commission Chairman Charles Imbrecht. "The Taurus is the best- selling car in the United States, but Ford went one step further by making its Taurus one of the cleanest. Many companies recognized that by using FFVs in their fleets, they are making a contribution to better air quality and fuel diversity."
 Several companies have purchased nearly 100 or more Taurus FFVs, which will be used in the four-county South Coast Air District of greater Los Angeles. These include Enterprise Rent A Car (210), Digital Equipment Corp. (143), Proctor and Gamble (100) and Hewlett-Packard (95). They were joined at Dodger Stadium by several other companies that have made the commitment to clean, alternatively fueled vehicles.
 "These companies have taken a major step toward helping Southern Californians breathe easier," says South Coast Air Quality Management District Board Chairman Henry Wedaa. "AQMD wants to congratulate the companies that have purchased clean fuel vehicles for the contributions they are making daily to the health of all our citizens. If more companies and individuals drove clean, alternative fuel vehicles, we would go a long way toward providing cleaner air."
 Taurus FFV's Characteristics
 The Ford Taurus FFV is optimized to operate on up to 85 percent methanol (M85), unleaded gasoline or any combination of the two fuels from a single tank. Methanol is an alcohol fuel (methyl alcohol) currently produced from abundant North American supplies of natural gas. When running on M85, the Taurus FFV produces 50-percent less of the smog-forming emissions than a comparable gasoline-only Taurus.
 Use of methanol, however, does not mean sacrificing performance for environmental benefits. Methanol has been the fuel of choice at the Indianapolis 500 since 1965 because of its inherent safety (lower volatility compared to gasoline) and because of its performance characteristics. M85 has a rating of 102 octane, compared to 87 octane for regular unleaded and 92 octane for premium unleaded.
 M85 costs an average of 85 to 88 cents a gallon at 50 locations throughout California. Because of the lower energy content of methanol, however, a vehicle requires about 1.6 gallons of M85 to equal a gallon of gasoline. This brings the price of a gallon equivalent to about the price of premium unleaded. During the Persian Gulf War, M85 was cheaper than regular unleaded gasoline -- showing M85's inherent strength as an alternative to gasoline, whose price has been influenced by international politics and regional instabilities.
 Ford began regular production of the Taurus FFV earlier this year at is South Chicago, Ill. assembly plant. Nearly 2,500 FFVs have rolled off the assembly lines for fleet and retail purchase in California and for delivery in other states. There are 329 Taurus FFVs being placed in fleets in eight states including Arizona, Michigan, New York and Louisiana (with 42 going to Iowa that will be optimized to run on 85 percent ethyl alcohol, called ethanol, made from corn).
 More than 400 FFV's are currently available for sale at Ford dealerships at a price less than a comparably-equipped gasoline-only Taurus. Ford does not charge any extra for the flexible fuel option. Additionally, the Energy Commission offers an incentive of $400 off the base price of the FFV, with the discount reflected directly on the vehicle price sticker. The Taurus FFV also comes with free oil and filter changes from Ford for six years or 60,000 miles, along with an extended warranty for FFV parts for the same period.
 Using a methanol-powered vehicle helps companies to meet commute reduction goals in Southern California. A 5-to-1 credit is given by the South Coast AQMD to companies toward complying with commute reduction and ride share regulations. In other words, one person in a Taurus FFV using methanol is equal to a five-person carpool in a gasoline-powered vehicle.
 The Taurus FFVs feature a production 3.0 liter V-6 engine. Modifications include redesigned fuel system components, such as a larger capacity fuel pump and methanol tolerant lines to improve reliability and durability when run on M85, which has higher oxidation characteristics than gasoline. The Taurus FFV also feature a larger 20.7 gallon fuel tank for increased range.
 The nearly 1,900 Taurus FFVs join 3,500 methanol-powered vehicles already on the road in California. These include 180 1991 Taurus FFVs, 200 1992 Ford Econoline Van FFVs and 217 1987-1989 model years Crown Victoria FFVs. These FFVs were produced in a limited number for demonstration purposes. Ford had produced dedicated, methanol-only vehicles in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Altogether, Ford's flexible fuel vehicles have been driven more than 17 million miles, proving the reliability and viability of methanol and the flexible fuel technology.
 Ford plans to offer a natural gas-powered Crown Victoria in the mid- 1990s and electric-powered vehicles (EVs), such as its Ecostar minivan, in the late 1990s. Fifty Crown Victoria Natural Gas Vehicles are currently being tested by natural gas utility companies and other fleets nationally in a three-year program. Delivery is slated for late this year of about 80 Ecostar EVs to electric utilities and government agencies around the country, Canada and Mexico. In addition to the methanol-powered Taurus FFV, Ford currently sells a propane-powered, medium-duty truck using the F600 and F700 series engines.
 For more information about purchasing a Ford Taurus FFV or other clean, alternatively fueled vehicles, members of the public can contact the California Energy Commission's Drive Clean California Hotline at 916-654-4602.
 -0- 6/17/93
 /CONTACT: Bob Aldrich or Claudia Chandler of the California Energy Commission, 916-654-4989; or Claudia Keith of the South Coast Air Quality Management District, 909-396-3456; or Ross Ruehle of Ford Motor, 313-336-9655/
 (F)


CO: Ford Motor Co.; California Energy Commission ST: California, Michigan IN: AUT ENV OIL SU: PDT

TM-TB -- SF001 -- 3156 06/17/93 14:05 EDT
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Date:Jun 17, 1993
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