Ford Motor Company Receives Blue Sky Award From CALSTART

California Fuel Cell Partnership Recognized With Special Blue Sky Innovation Award

PASADENA, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Jan. 20, 2000-- Merit Awards for Industry Leadership to: Joe Ferguson, Advanced Vehicle Systems; Jeff Pink, EV Rental Cars; and Jeff Groscost, Speaker of the Arizona State House of Representatives Ford Motor Company has won CALSTART's 4th annual Blue Sky Award(tm) for its marketplace contributions to advanced, clean transportation, specifically its aggressive purchase and launch of a novel electric vehicle, the TH!NK, and for winning a contract to build 500 -- and possibly up to 6,000 -- electric postal delivery vans. Additionally, CALSTART has recognized the California Fuel Cell Partnership with a special Blue Sky Innovation Award(tm) for taking early steps to create a fuel cell market.

The Blue Sky Award(tm) is presented each year by CALSTART-the advanced transportation consortium-to recognize outstanding marketplace contributions to advanced, sustainable transportation that cleans the air, improves energy efficiency and helps reduce greenhouse-gas emissions. "Ford's activities started as interesting statements and have turned into real marketplace activity," said Michael J. Gage, president and CEO of WestStart-CALSTART. "At a time when other automakers are less than enthusiastic about electric vehicles, Ford has moved ahead on a variety of clean-fuel fronts-and in the process has shaken up conventional wisdom. We salute their growing leadership in vehicles friendlier to the environment."

Ford Motor Company was recognized with the Blue Sky Award(tm) for the majority purchase of the Norwegian small electric vehicle manufacturer, TH!NK, and Ford's demonstrated commitment to bring the vehicle to market. It is now in production in Norway; a U.S. model is under design. Winning the U.S. Postal Service bid to manufacture 500 electric vehicles, and potentially many more, helps increase real-world use of electric vehicles, as well as their viability and visibility. 

Finally, Ford continues to sell more clean fuel vehicles than any other auto manufacturer. All these actions make Ford Motor Company the outstanding recipient of this important industry award. The California Fuel Cell Partnership was recognized with a special Blue Sky Innovation Award(tm) for its innovative leadership in pushing fuel cell technology toward the marketplace.

The Partnership * made up of public agencies (the California Air Resources Board and the California Energy Commission), auto companies (DaimlerChrysler, Ford, Honda and Volkswagen) and energy companies (Shell, ARCO and Texaco) is helping prepare the market for commercialization of fuel cell vehicles by increasing public awareness and enhancing opinion about the viability of these electric vehicles.

"The groundswell for cleaner transportation is accelerating," added Gage. "Here we have public and private partners realizing they need to quickly cooperate on the support and standards needed for one of the fast-approaching technologies-fuel cell-powered electric vehicles." Three Blue Sky Merit Award(tm) winners were also announced for 1999. 

They were presented to individuals and organizations for contributions to bringing clean-fuel vehicles to market, and helping increase awareness of their need. Merit Award winners are: * Jeff Groscost, Speaker of the Arizona State House of Representatives, was selected for his unwavering advocacy of alternative fuel vehicles (AFVs). Groscost worked to pass a nation-leading, fuel-neutral program of marketplace incentives for AFV purchase in Arizona showing others that a business-market
approach is also good, constructive environmental policy. * Advanced Vehicle Systems (AVS), Chattanooga, Tennessee, was selected for its ongoing commitment to bringing more electric
buses into service nationwide. In 1999, AVS produced its 100th electric bus, a feat unmatched by any other company nationwide. AVS is responsible for roughly one-third of the electric buses on
the road today. * EV Rental Cars was selected for its innovative marketing approach which allows the general public to experience EVs and other alternative fuel vehicles at reasonable prices through the rental car process. In doing this, EV Rental Cars is showing rental agencies how to incorporate out-of-the-ordinary vehicles into their fleets.

Formal presentation of the awards will take place at the Blue Sky Award 2000 Luncheon on Thursday, February 24th, 11:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m., at the WestStart-CALSTART office in Pasadena. Dr. Alan Lloyd, Chairman of the California Air Resources Board, will be the guest speaker and award presenter.

Tickets for the event are $100 per person (tax deductible) and are available by contacting WestStart-CALSTART at 626/744-5600 ext. 5631, or visit the Web site at Members of the Blue Sky Award(tm) selection committee are made up of representatives from industry as well as environmental organizations, including WestStart-CALSTART and the Natural Resources Defense Council, Union of Concerned Scientists and the Coalition for Clean Air.

CALSTART is a division of WestStart-CALSTART, an advanced transportation technologies organization that focuses on developing new, clean technologies and solutions in transportation. Working with private partners worldwide, WestStart-CALSTART provides technology development and demonstration, industry analysis, marketing, business development and fleet implementation services. Its expertise includes electric vehicles, natural gas vehicles, hybrid electric vehicles, intelligent transportation systems (ITS) and fuel-cell technologies.

Bill Van Amburg, 626/744-5600

(Thanks to Marty Vandergriff, Administrative manager, AVS for this item. ET Ed.)