05/04/2000 – Ford to begin testing propane-powered Excursion


Source: Ford Motor Company

Ford to begin testing propane-powered Excursion

DEARBORN, Mich., May
5, 2000 — Ford Motor Company began delivering a propane-powered
version of the Ford Excursion to about twenty companies nationwide
that will test and evaluate the vehicles for fleet use.


Ford produced a fleet of 24 liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) Excursions
and is placing them in twenty cities around the country for
customers to use for a year. The fleet will help Ford test
emission-control technology and determine if there is market demand
for the vehicle.


The LPG Excursion is the first propane-powered vehicle to meet
California’s super ultra low-emission vehicle (SULEV) standard. By
pairing the clean-burning characteristics of propane with a
Ford-patented advanced catalyst system and innovative engine control
strategy, Ford was able to achieve emissions that are at least 62
percent less than what is required by law. Additionally, the LPG
Excursion uses a fast warm-up exhaust system to heat the catalyst -
significantly reducing the high level of hydrocarbon emissions
produced during the first two minutes from a cold start.


“This demonstration fleet will be a great program,” said Dave
Tarrant, Alternative Fuel Vehicle and Commercial Truck marketing
manager, Ford Motor Company. “We hope that each of our
demonstration program participants find a unique way to test this
vehicle to make sure it meets the needs of all our North American
fleet customers.”


“For example, the Pike’s Peak Highway Ranger Patrol Program in
Colorado will be testing three Excursions on the extreme inclines of
Pike’s Peak. The vehicles will be used for first-response medical
assistance and highway traffic patrol,” Tarrant added.


Hans D. Schalk, Pike’s Peak manager, is extremely excited to be a
part of the program and have the opportunity to use the sport
utility vehicles for a year.


“We are really looking forward to receiving the Excursions,” said
Schalk. “Our rangers need vehicles that are reliable and require
minimal service but can also handle a large payload. They have to
have the ability to carry a lot of gear to assist motorists and
hikers, and the vehicles may encounter a variety of weather from hot
summer days to blizzard conditions.”


Other groups participating in the test program include the Denver
area Boy Scouts; Utah LP Gas, Inc. in Salt Lake City; the
Department of Public Works in Louisville, Ky.; the National Propane
Gas Association in Chicago; and the Port of Portland Aviation
Airfield in Portland, Ore.


Equipped with a 6.8-liter V-10 engine, the propane-powered Excursion
has the same performance characteristics of the base gasoline model.
Two fuel tanks with a capacity of nearly 40 gallons give the
vehicle a driving range of about 250 miles between refills.


Since the 1999 model year, all Ford sport utility vehicles and
Windstar minivan sold in the U.S and Canada have been low emission
vehicles (LEV). Last year, Ford announced that all 2000 model year
F-Series pickups and Excursion would also be LEV. In the 2000 model
year, Ford will put more than two million LEVs on the road annually
in North America – far in advance of any regulatory requirements.

In addition to low emissions, the conventional gasoline-powered
Excursion has many other environmentally responsible attributes
including a high recyclable content and the use of recycled
materials. More than 85 percent of each Excursion by weight can be
recycled at the end of its automotive life, and nearly one-fifth of
the vehicle is made of recycled materials including steel, aluminum,
rubber and plastics.


Comments from several fleet operators receiving the vehicles from
around the country are listed below:


Denver area Boy Scouts
Richard Fisher, Director of Field
Services for the Denver area Boy Scouts, is anxiously anticipating
the arrival of his group’s Ford LPG Excursion. The Urban Boy Scout
program serves the city of Denver and six surrounding counties and
reaches approximately 3,000 scouts. Fisher estimates about 15 to 20
percent of these scouts will participate in programs involving the
Excursion. Fisher says the vehicle will be excellent for camping
and field trips as well as public awareness projects like parades
and local displays.


Not only is Fisher happy to have a vehicle capable of transporting
scouts and their gear to various areas where they may encounter poor
weather or rough terrain, he is also excited about the vehicle’s low
emissions benefits.


“Air pollution is a big issue in the Denver area. Our scouting
program focuses on conservation and energy education and I think a
vehicle like this will be an excellent tool to incorporate in our
existing program,” said Fisher.


Utah LP Gas, Inc.
Utah LP Gas, Inc. recently received a
LPG Excursion and is using it to show the public the benefits of
propane-powered vehicles. Richard Burgston, president of Utah LP
Gas, Inc., has been offering local businesses and groups a chance to
test drive the vehicle for a week and said he has all ready received
a lot of positive feedback, especially regarding the power and
stability of the vehicle.


Department of Public Works in Louisville
The Department
of Public Works in Louisville is receiving two LPG Excursions to use
for a year. One will be used for the city’s Operation Brightside
program and the Metro Parks and Recreation Department will use the
other. The Operation Brightside program is a thriving force in the
community aimed at environmental beautification and cleanup efforts
as well as school and community education programs. The group will
use the vehicle to haul equipment to and from work sites and also to
display at public awareness programs.


Representatives from Operation Brightside say they are thrilled to
have been chosen to participate in this program. A clean
environment is one of the group’s biggest goals and the low
emission-producing LPG Excursion is an excellent vehicle to help
achieve that.



National Propane Gas Association in Chicago, Ill.
The
National Propane Gas Association in Chicago, Ill., will use their
Excursion to transport visitors around the city and to deliver
packages and materials needed by the association. Officials of the
group are extremely excited about having the chance to try out one
of these vehicles for a year.


“Propane is a cleaner burning fuel than gasoline so it offers an
alternative to powering vehicles without sacrificing driving
performance,” said Dan Myers, Executive Vice President and General
Manager.


Port of Portland Aviation Airfield
The Port of Portland
plans to use their LPG Excursion as an aviation airfield operations
vehicle. Larry Medearis, Senior Manager of Aviation Maintenance and
Facilities is anxious to add another alternative fuel vehicle to his
fleet while gaining a vehicle that offers more space to carry
equipment and passengers.


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