Taxis to use Ford’s compressed natural gas cars

Southern California residents and visitors will soon be able to hail a taxi that runs on environmentally friendly compressed natural gas, or CNG.

Yellow Cab of Anaheim and Cabco Yellow Inc. of Orange County have ordered a combined 119 CNG-powered Ford Transit Connect Taxis, Ford Motor Co.   Ford Motor Co. Follow this company  said.

Ford said it expects to deliver the first 50 cabs within the next two months, while the rest are scheduled to be delivered by the end of the year.

The Ford dealership, South Bay Ford   South Bay Ford Follow this company  in Los Angeles, will deliver the taxis to the cab companies.

"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," Gerald Koss, marketing manager at Ford Fleet Operations, said in a press release. "The more conversations we had, the more interest we saw in a taxi with the flexibility of offering a compressed natural gas version."

Larry Gach, sales manager at Ford Commercial Truck Sales and Marketing, said he expects orders in California to increase after the California Air Resources Board, or CARB, approved the use of Transit Connect Taxis modified by BAF Technologies to run on CNG.

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.

Ford said use of its CNG cabs is growing nationwide. Chicago’s Taxi Medallion Management this week began using the 12 CNG taxis it bought earlier this year, and two taxi companies in Connecticut have ordered 70 CNG cabs, which they plan to put in service this summer.

Other cities where CNG Transit Connect Taxis have been ordered include Las Vegas and St. Louis, and city officials in Philadelphia recently approved it for use as well, Ford said.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, CNG is less expensive and burns cleaner than gasoline, resulting in 30 to 40 percent less greenhouse gas emissions.

Ford said it offers engine prep packages that allow conversions to CNG and liquefied propane gas.

This article was first published by L0os Angeles Business Journal.

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