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Green Fleet Roundup: Ford, Westport, VW, Clean Diesel

Ford has unveiled its 2014 Transit van, which it says will achieve an average of 25 percent better fuel economy and haul at least 300 pounds more than today’s E-Series. The new Transit joins the most fuel-efficient lineup in Ford’s history. Next year, the company will offer eight vehicles rated at 40 mpg or higher – double 2011’s total, and more than any other automaker, Ford says.

Six German automotive companies – the passenger car manufacturers Audi, BMW, Daimler, Porsche and Volkswagen, and the supplier Bosch – are starting their first ever joint information campaign for clean diesels in the US. Under the slogan “Clean Diesel. Clearly Better,” they will publicize the advantages of modern diesel passenger car technology over gasoline engines in terms of cleanliness, consumption and performance.

Natural gas engine company Westport Innovations Inc. has announced that it is to introduce natural gas-powered versions of the Ford F-450 and F-550 Super Duty trucks in mid-2013. The trucks will be built at the Westport Kentucky Integration Center, an exclusive Ford Qualified Vehicle Modifier audited facility, located adjacent to Ford Motor Company’s Kentucky Truck Plant.

Vision Industries Corporation, Environmental Defense Fund, Air Products and their project partners were recently awarded $500,000 from the Texas Emission Reduction Program to partially fund the building of the first public hydrogen fueling station in the state. The station, which is proposed to be fed from an existing hydrogen pipeline, will fuel port trucks and be publicly available for personal vehicles. The funding came through through TERP’s Alternative Fueling Facilities Program.

Volkswagen has launched the eco up! – what the company calls the most economical natural gas car on the world market. The four-seat Volkswagen (pictured) consumes just 2.9 kg of compressed natural gas per 100 km; this is equivalent to CO2 emissions of just 79 g/km. This means that in Italy, the largest market for natural gas cars in Europe, the cost of driving 100km is less than €3, VW says.

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