• Sep 10th 2011 at 9:02AM
  • 51
The next time you hail a cab in Los Angeles, CA you could be jumping into the back seat of a vehicle that's fueled by clean-burning compressed natural gas (CNG). That's because California Yellow Cab of Orange County has become the state's first taxi company to put CNG-fueled Ford Transit Connect vans into service. California Yellow Cab says ten (and soon more than 120) natural gas Connects are on the roads and ready to pick up passengers in the Greater Los Angeles Area.

Meanwhile, over in Chicago, Taxi Medallion Management says it has a dozen Ford Transit Connect CNG taxis in service. And in Connecticut, two cab companies are waiting on Ford to fulfill orders for 70 CNG-fueled Transit Connect Taxis.

Later on, CNG-burnin' Transits will ship out to Las Vegas, NV and St. Louis, MO. Philadelphia, PA is expected to get in on the CNG action, too, once city officials there approve natural gas machines for taxi duty.
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First CNG-Powered Ford Transit Connect Taxis Begin Servicing Greater Los Angeles Area

California Yellow Cab of Orange County becomes first business in California to offer Ford Transit Connect Taxis powered by compressed natural gas (CNG)
First 10 taxis are to be joined soon by more than 100 more CNG-powered Transit Connect Taxis servicing the area
Interest in California being driven by lower CNG costs and approvals of CNG-powered Ford Transit Connect Taxis by governing agencies like the California Air Resources Board (CARB)

DEARBORN, Mich., Sept. 8, 2011 – California's first compressed natural gas (CNG)-powered Ford Transit Connect Taxis hit the greater Los Angeles area today, giving taxi owners, drivers and passengers a chance to help the environment one small trip at a time.

California Yellow Cab of Orange County put its first 10 Transit Connect Taxis into service – marked by an event celebrating the increased presence of CNG use in California. Clean Energy, which owns and operates CNG filling stations, also participated in the event.

The first 10 Transit Connect Taxis are part of an order for 50 units that California Yellow Cab plans to put into service by 2012. In addition, Yellow Cab of Anaheim also ordered 69 units, bringing the total number of CNG Transit Connect Taxis that will soon be servicing Southern California to more than 100.

Tim Conlon, president and general manager of California Yellow Cab, said there is a lot of excitement over the new taxis.

"Our goal is to convert our entire fleet to alternative fuels, so bringing the CNG Transit Connect Taxis into service is an exciting step in that direction," said Conlon. "The drivers are excited too. They have been lining up to be among the first to get behind the wheel of a CNG-powered taxi."

Conlon isn't alone in being excited about the taxi option as many others in California are considering adding the versatile vehicle to their fleets, said Gerry Koss, marketing manager, Ford Fleet.

"The Transit Connect Taxi is well-suited for California taxi service for many reasons including its exceptional maneuverability and improved fuel economy," said Koss. "As more and more taxi industry representatives see how well the Transit Connect Taxi performs, we expect the level of interest in the vehicle to increase accordingly."

CNG-powered Transit Connect Taxis are becoming more popular in other parts of the country as well, servicing places such as Las Vegas and St. Louis. Chicago is another city where CNG-powered Transit Connect Taxis are in service already. Taxi Medallion Management put 12 of the vehicles into service in June.

Taxi conversion
Dallas-based BAF Technologies has been certified by Ford as a Quality Vehicle Modifier to convert standard Transit Connect Taxis into CNG-powered cabs.

The standard Ford Transit Connect – 2010 North American Truck of the Year – features a 2.0-liter I-4 engine that gets 22 mpg in the city and 27 mpg on the highway, an estimated 30 percent improvement in fuel economy compared with traditional taxis.

The estimated fuel economy of a CNG-powered Transit Connect Taxi is the same as the standard gasoline version. However, operating costs are lower because the cost of a gasoline gallon equivalent of CNG is roughly half the cost of a gallon of regular gasoline. In addition to CNG, Transit Connect Taxi is available with an engine preparation package for conversion to liquefied propane gas (LPG).

"Taxicab operators will save up to $2 per gallon over gasoline at the pump," said Mitchell Pratt, chief operating officer, Clean Energy. "Because the vehicles' tailpipe emissions are near zero, Ford's CNG Transit Connects qualify to drive in California's carpool lanes and, compared to petroleum versions, will reduce greenhouse gases by almost 30 percent."

Earlier this year in the Golden State, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) approved the use of CNG-powered Transit Connect Taxis modified by BAF Technologies, which is owned by Clean Energy.

CARB is a government agency designed to promote and protect public health, welfare and ecological resources through reduction of air pollutants.

In addition to the CARB approval, Conlon said another factor that is pro-CNG is the increase in infrastructure supporting CNG-fueled vehicles. He said that since 2001 the number of CNG filling stations in Orange County has tripled to about 30.

"We have a situation here in Orange County where the per gallon equivalent of CNG is almost $2 less than the price of a gallon of traditional fuel. Given that, along with the increased infrastructure support, it's not hard to see why it makes sense for us to go with the [CNG-powered] Transit Connect Taxi," said Conlon.

The powertrain isn't the only reason orders are expected to continue coming in for the Transit Connect Taxi. Roominess, for example, is a big factor for many, said Craig Cannons, commercial business manager, Ford Commercial Truck Sales and Marketing.

"Passengers can get in and out of the vehicle so much easier than they can with other taxi vehicles out there," said Cannons. "In fact, the spaciousness of the Transit Connect Taxi is a huge factor – if not the deciding factor – for many considering adding it to their fleet."

The open architecture of the Transit Connect Taxi provides excellent interior headroom and passenger visibility, and – with 6.5 inches of ground clearance – passengers step easily through the sliding doors. The rear door opening is 50.2 inches wide at the floor and has a height of 52.1 inches.

The Transit Connect Taxi is certified to Ford Light Commercial Vehicle Durability Standards while suspension components and the underbody structure have passed requirements for potholes and curbs. The 39-foot turning diameter makes it easier to handle tight spots.

The Ford dealership, South Bay Ford in Los Angeles, is delivering the first Transit Connect Taxis in California to California Yellow Cab.


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
      Ghetto Cat
      • 4 Years Ago
      All those Middle Eastern taxi drivers will enjoy that extra headroom for their headgear, lol.
      • 4 Years Ago
      • 4 Years Ago
      oil companies had the lock on most new technologies that have come out in the last century so that they could monopolize the markets . now the greed of a few powerfull people has driven the world to massive greenhouse emisions causing global warming and and international war. but hey its just greed right
        • 4 Years Ago
        Japan has no oil companies. How do you get around the fact they haven't gotten away from using oil for fuel for all these years? Do you ever think these things thru?
      • 4 Years Ago
      I'm surprised that CNG has not caught on more. With the shale gas revolution, CNG is really cheap these days. Of course that may not last as long as many people think it will.
        Ford Future
        • 4 Years Ago
        Exactly, the whole purpose of CNG in transportation is to drive up demand, and drive up price. It's still a carbon source.
          • 4 Years Ago
          @Ford Future
          There's no carbon produced when CNG is burned.
      • 4 Years Ago
      But what about UN-natural gas?
      • 4 Years Ago
      hey. did any of these idoit designers watch total recall. looks like a johnnie cab to me
        Will Shields
        • 4 Years Ago
        Maybe. maybe not but you have just proven your lack of travel outside the US. This vehicle has been in production and use in Europe for the last 13 years. In fact, it is so popular that anything in this class of vehicles is considered a "Transit" just like people refer to all soda as a "Coke"
        • 4 Years Ago
        "Idoit." is the way an idiot spells "idiot."
      • 4 Years Ago
      I've always wondered why they ever "did away" with the "Checker" cabs!! Best damn cab/taxi out there, but somebody decided to "SHELVE THEM", and put the "Ford Crown Vic'" out there! The "Checker Cabs" had the GM 283ci.V-8 motor + PowerGlide transmission, a combination that cannot be beat, 20+ mpg at the time!!! Who in the name of HE11 would want to replace these vehicles with Crown Vics that get 10-14 mpg, Oh, and by the way I'm sure all of you noticed that the Crown Vic's went into almost all of the "Police Force Vehicles"!!! CHECKER CABS, another company put out of business by the FORD MOTOR COMPANY!!!
        Marco Polo
        • 4 Years Ago
        What the hell are you talking about? Checker went out of building cabs because they couldn't meet the new safety and design rules. Checker became a supplier of Cadillac parts for General Motors until January 2009 when it declared bankruptcy as part of GM's bankruptcy. Checker Cab co was any candidate for sainthood! The State of New York in pursued CEO Markin and Checker on antitrust, charges, alleging that it controlled both the taxi service and manufacture of taxis, and thus favoured itself in fulfilling orders. Rather than allow Checker drivers to begin buying different brands of cars, Markin began selling licenses in New York City. Morris Markin wasn't above employing gangsters to remove business rivals, including John Hertz. Nothing to do with Ford Motor Co!
      • 4 Years Ago
      now that"s funny............
      • 4 Years Ago
      I have tried many programs in an effort to stop the paycheck to pay check syndrome. I'm a single parent , I work full-time and in the past I worked full time and 2 or 3 extra jobs. After experiencing a dead-end moment in my finances, not un-like most people in this economy, I was presented with this amazing simple money making opportunity: ( HTtp://tinyurl.com/OnlineBizSystem ) My trouble in the past was that all my attempts at actually making money online failed. I was just throwing dollar after dollar at any income opportunity out there...
      • 4 Years Ago
      Ridin' around in a gas grill,,,you'll be smokin'!
      • 4 Years Ago
      now that's funny.............
      • 4 Years Ago
      ugly ugly ugly. im not ridin that monstrosity. especially with a tank full of natural gas. no thank you. should have stuck with the crown vics. ford is a bunch of morons for getting rid of the c.v. mthey could have at least redesigned the c.v. like they did in 92. $#% ups at ford.
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