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THE CAR OF THE FUTURE MAY BE ELECTRIC; PECO TO TEST TWO VEHICLES IN A NATIONAL PILOT PROJECT

 PHILADELPHIA, March 9 /PRNewswire/ -- The electric car is about to join the natural gas vehicles in Philadelphia Electric Company's (PECO) (NYSE: PE) fleet of alternative automobiles of the future.
 PECO has joined a national, 18-utility consortium piloting the use of electric cars, and it has agreed to purchase two electric-powered 1993 Dodge Caravan minivans (also known as TEVans) for research purposes. The automobiles will be delivered after April this year.
 The consortium was formed by the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), of which PECO is a member, to gather performance data on the Chrysler minivans over a two-year period.
 The data will provide Chrysler with information to improve the product before it begins manufacturing the alternative vehicles for the general public later this decade.
 PECO said it will use one of the electric-powered vans in its own automotive fleet, and it will loan the other for use as a shuttle vehicle around Center City, Philadelphia.
 Phil Eastman, manager of PECO's Technology division, said, "Philadelphia Electric is excited to be part of this pilot. The company is very pleased to be in the forefront providing support and important feedback in the use of alternative powered vehicles."
 Eastman added PECO is actively involved in a natural gas vehicle (NGV) program. PECO operates three natural gas refueling stations and plans to build four additional stations this year. The company also maintains a fleet of about 80 NGVs with plans to increase that number to 1,000 by the end of the decade.
 Eastman said, "We're looking forward to a positive experience with the electric minivans. In our daily use of the electric minivans, we take the vehicles off the test track and put them to the test in everyday situations."
 The 1993 Dodge Caravan is the nation's first federal safety- certified electric vehicle. The utility consortium agreed to purchase 50 of the vehicles.
 On a tour of 15 cities, a team of engineers begun a 5,000-mile road test last week between Detroit and Los Angeles where the Eco Expo will convene later this week. The road test is the longest trip ever in a battery vehicle. It concludes March 12.
 The TEVan is equipped with a 65-horsepower DC motor, has standard accessories, can reach a top speed of 65 miles per hour, and has a range of approximately 80 miles between charges.
 The cross-country evaluation is intended to test fast-charging technology introduced last December. Engineers also will be able to compare range, performance and driving characteristics of the electric minivan versus its counterparts.
 /delval/
 -0- 3/9/93
 /CONTACT: Michael Wood of Philadelphia Electric, 215-841-4125/
 (PE)


CO: Philadelphia Electric Company; Electric Power Research Institute;
 Chrysler ST: Pennsylvania IN: UTI SU: PDT


MP -- PH003 -- 4348 03/09/93 08:21 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Mar 9, 1993
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