Ford Motor Co. is going to drop production of all its natural gas vehicles, sources familiar with the decision tells Inside Fuels and Vehicles. The company will also be discontinuing the production of its propane gas vehicles after the 2004-model year. A source within Ford confirmed the company is phasing out natural gas vehicles in favor of gasoline/electric hybrid technology. "We have shifted our emphasis from EV [battery-electric vehicles] and natural gas [vehicles] to hybrids," the source asserted. Ford will begin selling a hybrid-electric version of the Escape mid-sized sport utility vehicle in late summer. The official added the company is also moving forward with internal combustion hydrogen development programs, which uses a similar technology as its natural gas vehicles. Internal combustion, hydrogen-fueled vehicles would be even cleaner burning than natural gas vehicles. Ford will continue to take orders for MY 2004 vehicles through March 1 for pickups and April 25 for Crown Victorias and Econoline vans, wagons, and cutaways. They are committed to producing and supporting all 2004 vehicles that they receive orders for. These dates are subject to change.

Originally posted on Fleet Financials

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