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Ford Transit Connect compressed natural gas taxi – Click above for high-res image gallery

The next time you hail a cab in Chicago, IL or Los Angeles, CA you could be jumping into the back seat of a vehicle that's fueled by compressed natural gas (CNG). That's because in Chicago, Taxi Medallion Management will put a dozen Ford Transit Connect CNG taxis into service as part of an event celebrating the increased presence of CNG in the city. T. Boone Pickens will be there!

Meanwhile, in the Los Angeles-area, cab companies have ordered nearly 120 Ford Transit Connect CNG taxis. Other places are jumping on the CNG taxi bandwagon, too. In Connecticut, two cab companies have ordered a total of 70 CNG-fueled Transit Connect Taxis and soon, some CNG-burnin' Transits will ship out to Las Vegas, NV and St. Louis, MO. Even Philadelphia, PA is expected to join that list after city officials there approve the CNG-fueled people-hauling machine for taxi service.


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Photos by Drew Phillips, Sebastian Blanco / Copyright ©2010 AOL

[Source: Ford]
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A Taxi Trend: Ford Transit Connect Compressed Natural Gas Taxis Heading to Los Angeles and Chicago
  • Two taxicab companies in Los Angeles area order nearly 120 Ford Transit Connect Taxis to operate on compressed natural gas (CNG)
  • Twelve CNG-powered Transit Connect Taxis hit the streets of Chicago today
  • New approvals giving taxicab company owners even more reason to consider the Ford Transit Connect Taxi
DEARBORN, Mich., June 16, 2011 – The next time you hail a taxi, you could be jumping in to one that runs on compressed natural gas (CNG). Chicago and Los Angeles are now the two latest cities to roll out Ford Transit Connect Taxis fueled by CNG.

In Chicago today, Taxi Medallion Management will put 12 Ford Transit Connect Taxis powered by compressed natural gas (CNG) into service as part of an event celebrating the increased presence of CNG in Chicago. A CNG Ford Transit Connect Taxi will participate in the opening of a new Clean Energy CNG filling station and natural gas advocate T. Boone Pickens will speak at the event after arriving in a CNG Transit Connect Taxi.

Ford also announced two Los Angeles-area cab companies have ordered nearly 120 Ford Transit Connect CNG Taxis, adding the nation's second-largest city to the growing list of large urban areas quickly adopting the versatile vehicle.

"The Transit Connect Taxi was developed using market research we conducted with the taxi industry to better understand what customers wanted in a future vehicle," said Gerald Koss, marketing manager, Ford Fleet Operations. "The more conversations we had, the more interest we saw in a taxi with the flexibility of offering a compressed natural gas version."

Los Angeles and Chicago aren't the only cities jumping on the CNG taxi bandwagon. In Connecticut, Metro Taxi of West Haven and Yellow Cab Company of Hartford have ordered a total of 70 Transit Connect Taxis that will be powered by CNG and in service by the end of summer. Other cities where CNG Transit Connect Taxis have been ordered include Las Vegas and St. Louis.

Philadelphia is expected to join the list after city officials there recently approved it for use as well, said Koss.

California, here it comes
Yellow Cab of Anaheim and Cabco Yellow Inc. of Orange County have ordered a combined 119 CNG-powered Transit Connect Taxis. The first 50 will be delivered within the next two months. The rest are scheduled to be delivered by the end of 2011.

The Ford dealership, South Bay Ford in Los Angeles, will deliver the taxi units to the cab companies.

Larry Gach, sales manager, Ford Commercial Truck Sales and Marketing, said he expects orders in California to increase after the California Air Resources Board (CARB) approved the use of Transit Connect Taxis modified by BAF Technologies to run on CNG. BAF Technologies has been certified by Ford as a Quality Vehicle Modifier to convert standard Transit Connect Taxis into CNG-powered cabs.

CARB is part of the California Environmental Protection Agency, an organization that reports to the governor's office and is designed to promote and protect public health, welfare and ecological resources through reduction of air pollutants.

To receive CARB certification, a vehicle must demonstrate that its exhaust and evaporative emission control systems are durable and comply with the emission standards for the vehicle's useful life.

Blowing into the Windy City
Taxi Medallion Management bought the 12 CNG Transit Connect Taxis it is putting into service today earlier this year.

The purchase is part of the company's goal of reducing emissions by 25 percent, said Michael Levine, CEO of Taxi Medallion Management. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, CNG is less expensive and burns cleaner than gasoline, resulting in 30 to 40 percent less greenhouse gas emissions.

"We are adding CNG-powered vehicles to our fleet in order to reduce the effective cost of fuel for our drivers, and to introduce cleaner vehicles for the environment," said Levine.

Ford offers engine prep packages that allow conversions to CNG and liquefied propane gas (LPG). Both CNG and LPG lower taxi fleets' operating costs and are better for the environment.

CNG Transit Connect Taxis in other regions
Orders of CNG Transit Connect Taxis are expected to come from other areas of the country as well, including Philadelphia, the fifth-largest metropolitan area in the United States. City officials there approved the CNG Transit Connect Taxi for use on its streets. The city regulates the types of vehicles that can be used as taxis. To be approved, a vehicle must meet basic size requirements for headroom, legroom and cargo space.

"The Ford CNG Transit Connect Taxi has many great features of interest to the riding public," said James Ney, director, Taxicab & Limousine Division, Philadelphia Parking Authority. "Its abbreviated footprint makes it perfect for use on our narrow, congested streets here in Philadelphia."

The amount of space in the Transit Connect Taxi is winning over taxicab company owners such as Fred Sweets, of St. Louis American Cab. He recently ordered his first Transit Connect Taxi that will be modified to run on CNG.

Sweets said he was immediately intrigued by the shape and size of the Transit Connect when he first saw it being driven as a delivery van.

But before buying one, Sweets said he conducted his own research by asking users of the standard Transit Connect, such as flower delivery businesses, about their experiences with the small commercial van.

"I asked them how they liked it, what their mileage was and how it was holding up," said Sweets. "I got nothing but praise for the vehicle. I knew then that I had to add it to our fleet."

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About Ford Motor Company
Ford Motor Company, a global automotive industry leader based in Dearborn, Mich., manufactures or distributes automobiles across six continents. With about 166,000 employees and about 70 plants worldwide, the company's automotive brands include Ford and Lincoln. The company provides financial services through Ford Motor Credit Company. For more information regarding Ford's products, please visit www.ford.com.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 13 Comments
      Breconeer
      • 3 Years Ago
      This identical Ford Transit Connect taxi has previously been exhibited as a purely battery powered vehicle (and detailed here at Autoblog Green). Those who don't like CNG can push for the electric alternative to be made available - which I think is going to happen anyway.
        • 1 Month Ago
        @Breconeer
        Indeed -- having options for different situations and different folks are a good thing!
      Ford Future
      • 3 Years Ago
      Capitalism is great, for a population on a planet that doesn't exceed 1 Billion people. After that the regulation to not pollute the population of existence is Necessary. Don't put up a straw-man that I said we don't need Capitalism. We need Government Directed Capitalism. Tarsands and fracking create heavy amounts of greenhouse gas pollution that will just accelerate Climate Change. Capitalism is only worried about profit, it doesn't care if your local population is wiped out by a mudslide, or drought or famine or mercury poisoning or arsenic and uranium released into your water supply by mining. Capitalism is blind to the humans that get in the way of it's waste product, unless Government Steps In.
      Ford Future
      • 3 Years Ago
      Like I said, this is a strategic Failure. Sure, Natural Gas producers are looking to tighten up the demand, so that they can raise prices. However, higher Home Heating Natural Gas prices will only lead to a deeper and longer recession in the North East. Secondly, Fracking is just as polluting as oil, plus, it destroys the remaining fresh water aquifer's in many states. This is the Exact Opposite Policy you want during the current Global Drought. US Drought: Extreme-Exceptional: http://www.drought.unl.edu/dm/monitor.html
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Ford Future
        Since when is a drought in the US a global drought? Or in parts of China, for that matter. You are also grossly exaggerating the damage from fracking, which is not without issues but not some sort of death-ray as you presume: 'Contamination should be a concern. But let me refocus your thoughts. Frac'ing a deeply buried shale gas reservoir won't endanger surface waters IF NOTHING GOES WRONG. There's virtully no chance of those nasty chemicals perculating up to the fresh waters. Now, what can go wrong? The pump pressures used are very high and can rupture the steel casing that's used to protect the fresh waters. In Texas this is monitored and heavily fined if it occurs. Accidents still happens but companies do all they can to avoid such a situation if for no other reason then their own financial position. The bigger risk IMHO is the disposal of produced frac waters. But this is the same problem these local folks have with the disoposal of all hazardous materials. I have no doubt that the volume of frac fluids for disposal is very small compared to how much other nasty stuff local industries generate. Again, up to the regulators to the keep this from being a problem. Again, I'll use Texas as an example. Hazardous fluid disposal here is very closely monitored. But accidents still happen. But, again, the penalty structure pushes companies to make a serious effort to avoid the problems. Bottom line: frac fluids shouldn't represent a significant risk AS LONG AS THE REGULATORS DO THEIR JOBS. I get the impression that this has been the big problem. The local regulators have had to deal with such issues for other industries so I'm a little confused why this appears to a problem. No doubt there are many millions of gallons of nasty chemicals besides frac waters being disposed of in these states. The only new twist would be the well bore operations themselves. But again, enforced regulations should handle most of the risks.' http://www.theoildrum.com/node/6258#comment-594601 There is nothing in life that is free from all risk. Not having the energy to keep industry and agriculture functioning though would certainly be fatal.
          Ford Future
          • 1 Month Ago
          Russian Drought[ Rupert Murduch's Wall Street Journal ]: http://blogs.wsj.com/source/tag/russian-drought/ Russia’s inflation problem is lately driven by one thing only -– food, or more specifically, a drought of biblical proportions that wiped out a third of the country’s grain crop last summer and continues to push prices higher today. France: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/france/8546573/French-drought-fears-cause-government-to-set-up-surveillance-cell.html China: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/09/business/global/09food.html Africa http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/01/110128113426.htm Global http://drought.mssl.ucl.ac.uk/drought.html?map=%2Fwww%2Fdrought%2Fweb_pages%2Fdrought.map&program=%2Fcgi-bin%2Fmapserv&root=%2Fwww%2Fdrought2%2F&map_web_imagepath=%2Ftmp%2F&map_web_imageurl=%2Ftmp%2F&map_web_template=%2Fdrought.html
          Ford Future
          • 3 Years Ago
          David, maybe you'd better do a google search next time on drought conditions across the GLOBE. It's so easy to pick out the FOX Lies Viewers, because you are the Most Misinformed Citizens in the Nation. Secondly, you don't even know about fracking, they don't use steal casing for Most of the drilling depth. There's plenty of money to be made, today, at a profit from Green Energy. The ONLY reason fracking and coal and tarsands are competitive is because the industry assiduously does not allow you to know the extent of the damage from these operations, through the buy-up of politicians, judges, Exxon outright sponsorship of propaganda on Fox News, think-tanks and fake grassroots organizations. Why would it be profitable for these industries to spend 100's of Millions of Dollars on their PR efforts? Because the damage from these operations is in the Billions.
          Ford Future
          • 1 Month Ago
          North American Drought Monitor: Shows Mexico getting clobbered as well. http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/temp-and-precip/drought/nadm/nadm-maps.php?lang=en&year=2011&month=5
      Ford Future
      • 3 Years Ago
      Capitalism is Blindly Stupid to the Needs of a Nation.
        • 1 Month Ago
        @Ford Future
        Capitalism is the only system whereby those who can are allowed to keep what they earned. All other systems are setup to steal from the able for the sake of the weak. Talk about there's your greed. It's an "I can't do it, so I'll steal from the man who can" kind of greed.
      Spec
      • 3 Years Ago
      Taxis are a great use for CNG. Central refueling point. Used in cities and this reduces emissions. Cheap fuel. They don't generally travel out of range of the CNG fueling station. Etc. This is done all over the world, it should have started sooner here.
      Mike
      • 3 Years Ago
      I don't see what the big deal is. San Jose has so many CNG powered full size sedan taxis that they considered taking away the benefit that drove them into service to begin with. The city gave preferential access to the airport for CNG "Clean Air" vehicles. Taxi operators felt they needed the airport runs to get good fares, so they almost all ponied up for the CNG rigs. Now they're probably in the majority.
        Spec
        • 1 Month Ago
        @Mike
        But it is nice when people start adopting the smart things we do here in California. Now, they need to start adopting the way our de-coupled electricity system works where utilities do not profit by selling wasted power.
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