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Old 24-05-2011, 04:01 PM
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Ford Transit Connect Taxis Hit The Streets Of Chicago

January 25, 2011

Ford Transit Connect Taxis will begin winding through the streets of the Windy City in March when a fleet of the alternative-fuel vehicles joins Yellow Cab Chicago.

Taxi Medallion Management purchased the 12 clean-burning compressed natural gas (CNG) Transit Connect Taxis for its fleet. The cabs will be affiliated with Yellow Cab Chicago and bear the company’s logo and colours.

The purchase is part of the company’s goal of reducing emissions by 25 per cent, Taxi Medallion Management CEO, Michael Levine, said.

According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, CNG is less expensive and burns cleaner than petrol, resulting in 30 to 40 per cent less greenhouse gas emissions.

"We are adding vehicles with more fuel-efficient petrol engines, as well as vehicles with alternative-fuel sources, to find a vehicle mix that best suits our customers, our drivers, the city at large and the environment," Levine said. "We are excited about testing this new vehicle."

The Ford dealership, Packey Webb Ford, of Downers Grove, Ill., will deliver the taxis to Taxi Medallion Management with an engine preparation package for conversion to CNG. Since introduced as a production vehicle last year, the Transit Connect Taxi is gaining interest from taxi operators around the United States. The first taxi was delivered to Boston Cab Dispatch in December 2010.

"During product development of this vehicle, we visited cities across the US speaking with taxi owners, operators, drivers and city officials on the key product attributes they wanted in a taxi," Ford Fleet marketing manager, Gerald Koss, said.

"Of course reliability and durability were key, but fuel-efficient power-trains and sustainable solutions also were high on their lists."

The Transit Connect Taxi package adds comfort for the passenger with a repositioned second-row seat for more legroom, grab handles and a rear ventilation system with passenger controls. For the driver, in addition to the comfortable driving environment, new features include rear view camera and back-up sensor, heavy-duty battery and wiring block connector to power accessories.

The taxis have a 11.9m turning radius that provides excellent driving dynamics and takes the hassle out of tight spots.

The standard Ford Transit Connect – 2010 North American Truck of the Year – features a 2.0-litre I-4 engine that gets an EPA-estimated 11.2 litres/100km city and 9.0 litres/100km highway, an estimated 30 per cent improvement in fuel economy compared with traditional taxis.

In addition to CNG, the Transit Connect Taxi is available in North America with an engine preparation package for conversion to liquefied propane gas (LPG). Both CNG and LPG lower taxi fleets' operating costs and are more environmentally conscious.

During its first full year of production, 27,405 Transit Connect vehicles were sold in the United States. Demand for Transit Connect continues to grow as evidenced by the 41 per cent year-over-year increase in US sales for December 2010. In addition, several organisations with large fleets purchased Transit Connects, including Best Buy, Edible Arrangements, ThyssenKrupp Elevator and DTE Energy.



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