• Ford CNG Transit Connect Taxi
  • Ford CNG Transit Connect Taxi
  • Ford CNG Transit Connect Taxi
  • Ford Transit Connect CNG Taxi
The next time you hail a cab in Southern California, you could be jumping into a vehicle 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 10 (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 for Ford to fulfill orders for 70 CNG-fueled Transit Connect taxis.

Later on, CNG-fueled Transits will ship out to Las Vegas and St. Louis. Philadelphia is expected to get in on the CNG action, too, once city officials approve natural gas vehicles for taxi duty.
Show full PR text
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.

I'm reporting this comment as:

Reported comments and users are reviewed by Autoblog staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week to determine whether they violate Community Guideline. Accounts are penalized for Community Guidelines violations and serious or repeated violations can lead to account termination.

    • 1 Second Ago
      Tom Paul
      • 3 Years Ago
      CNG is the way to go. The closest filling station is as close as your next door neighbor in the Western USA. Bio fuel takes 9,110 liters of water to make 1 liter of fuel and this is efficient, how? And CNG is very low polution too.
      • 3 Years Ago
      CNG as a type of fuel is already a common thing among taxis in Germany. you will see benz e-klass, bmws and many more used with cng.
      • 3 Years Ago
      How much does it cost to fill a tank? And what's the range like?
        • 3 Years Ago
        Its hard to compare costs. But one advantage is you can fill up at home, as almost everyone is hooked up to a gas line. Obviously, you need an adapter though.
          Paul P.
          • 3 Years Ago
          It's not just an adapter, it's a special compressor, as the CNG in home utilities is a much lower pressure than what is required when filling a vehicle's tank. The compressor isn't cheap either, models for the home run in excess of $4,000.
      • 3 Years Ago
      the idot newyorkers want nissan, what a bunch of stupid morons.
      • 3 Years Ago
      CNG/Propane/Hydrogen is incredibly inefficient by itself. It would have been better to use it as a supplement to a diesel engine.
        • 3 Years Ago
      • 3 Years Ago
      Unfortunately, while CNG itself may be cleaner burning, the net effect of the overall process of actually obtaining natural gas really isn't much better than even coal. So really, this isn't a solution except for inner city smog issues.
        • 3 Years Ago
        You mean fracking which has suddenly become an environmental issue overnight after been practiced around the world for decades?
      • 3 Years Ago
      I am very happy that they chose an American brand for taxi duty. It is VERY disapointing that the NYC taxi body did not choose the Ford as well. I think that any level of government and public admins. (like the NYC Taxi-body) should only choose domestic brands. I have nothing against import brands, people have the right to choose for their personal use. I am pleased that an American company chose an American brand.
        • 3 Years Ago
        "I am pleased that an American company chose an American brand." The badge on a Transit Connect is American. And that's about it.
        • 3 Years Ago
        Speaking of regulation . . . . the type of fuel used by a vehicle has to be approved in Philadelphia?
      • 3 Years Ago
      The Ford Transit makes an EXCELLENT cab. Roomy as all get out. Light-years better than a Crown Vic - those mile-long boats block traffic with their huge, stretched out rear ends, but there's no rear seat space to speak of. And CNG? What's not to like?
      • 3 Years Ago
      Has anyone ever tried a CNG-electric hybrid? Why, it would almost be like driving a bar of soap, it would be so clean.
      • 3 Years Ago
      CNG hybrid cars are old technology in 3rd world countries in asia... the kind of passion with which americans are trying to utilise previously untapped resources, has already become the norm in pakistan, india etc.. I mean cars are literally coming into the market, factory fitted for CNG. The downer here though is that you lose engine life while trying to jack up the fuel efficiency of the vehicle...
        • 3 Years Ago
        CNG motors last allot longer than gasoline or deisel because there are no solvents creeping past the rings into the oil - CNG is a much cleaner burn
        • 3 Years Ago
        Ford used to build CNG cars for fleet use. When the price of gas went down a few years back the demand dried up. Now that CNG is becoming a chaeper alternative, Ford is back in the business.
      • 3 Years Ago
      • 3 Years Ago
    • Load More Comments