Green Machines at the Shows Page 2

January 17, 2000


The neighborhood TH!NK may make the perfect errand cart on campuses and in planned communities.

Ford's newest brand, TH!NK, which currently sells the City, a battery-electric, in Norway, showed off its concept TH!NK FC5, a family-sized sedan powered by the latest generation of a methanol-reformer, fuel-cell electric powertrain. The TH!NK Neighbor, a golf-cart-like car designed for low-speed travel, has a target market of closed communities, work campuses and resorts. The battery-powered Neighbor can travel up to 30 miles per charge and has a top speed of 25 mph. Available at the end of this year, the TH!NK Neighbor is expected to be priced at about $6,000.

Alternative fueled vehicles weren't the only green machines in the spotlight at America's two largest auto shows. While in Detroit, Ford introduced Envirodrive, a Web site dedicated to providing consumers with environmental information for all Ford, Lincoln and Mercury models. Envirodrive (www.fordenvirodrive.com) offers information on emission certification, fuel economy, recycled content, recyclability and manufacturing plant environmental standards. Background on the company's environmental programs as well as environmental driving tips is also available.

Also in Detroit, Nissan staked a claim to having the cleanest gasoline-powered vehicle ever. The Nissan Sentra CA, on sale in California in February, is the first car to meet the California Air Resources Board's (CARB) Super Low Emissions Vehicle (SULEV) requirements, previously only met by electric vehicles. Next year, Honda will introduce a new line of clean engines that will reduce fuel emissions and boost fuel economy by as much as 20 percent. Its first effort will be a 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engine, available first in California and worldwide by 2005. The Honda Accord EX has also received the same rating from CARB, but it does not qualify for zero emission credits.

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