Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Who is the National Joint Powers Alliance?

The NJPA is a non-profit municipal organization that is based in the mid-west.  In the beginning they leveraged the buying power of school district and municipalities of the state of  Minnesota and experienced a good value.  They saw the opportunity to get a great value if they could only compile and leverage the buying power of schools, cities, police departments, and other municipalities around the nation and created the National Joint Powers Alliance.  The membership terms are easy and no-cost.  Over 30,000+ members are active members of the NJPA and enjoy the fantastic value and customer service provided by their competitively bid and pre-negotiated pricing.  Considering the economic downturn, many cities and municipalities have been forced to do more with less and often times do not have the time or energy to create, advertise, manage and award their own contracts.  NJPA is driven to provide contracts with the most options and best value to their members.  Automotive purchases can sometimes be the largest purchase in a budget cycle.  Gresham Ford Fleet believes in a holistic approach because the vehicle procurement is just the beginning.  Ford Motor Company has met the convenience based maintenance shops face to face with the phenomenal value of the quick lane.  Municipalities now have the opportunity to save thousands by purchasing maintenance plans that cover oil changes, wiper blades as well as other wearable items.  Many government agencies are finding that purchasing the maintenance and extended service plans can cover all automotive expenses other than fuel costs.  With reduced budgets and staff this solution has helped many municipalities to maintain the same if not better fleet of vehicles.  Gresham Ford Fleet is a proud Business Preferred Network dealership.  To achieve the BPN certification all Fleet Managers have completed not only knowledge based testing for the full line of Ford products but also the service and maintenance products as well.  Serving clients in this holistic manner is one of the more notable reasons that northwest government fleet managers are choosing to convert their vehicle to Gresham Ford Fleet.  NJPA has now provided Gresham Ford Government Sales the opportunity  to provide this holistic approach to government fleets throughout the country.

Many government fleet managers have been charged with the task of converting fleets to green alternative fuel vehicles.  Alternative fuel vehicles can be any vehicle that drive trains are powered by any fuel other than gasoline or diesel.  Many alternative fuel options available are actually bi-fuel conversions.  These "soft" conversions are often times a good compromise because resistant users can convert on their own schedule.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

What is an Alternative Fuel Vehicle?

Many organizations and green friendly folks talk about hybrid, electric, bi-fuel, propane or even compressed natural gas vehicles but really what is an alternative fuel vehicle?  A hybrid is any vehicle that uses more than one source of stored energy to power the drive line of a vehicle.

Hybrids add a complexity that is normally made up of two systems working together.  Typically this is accomplished with twin energy storage or drive systems, power management and control software to maximize fuel efficiency.  Vehicles that put on a lot of city miles in stop and go traffic benefit the most with hybrid vehicles that store the energy provided during braking to maximize fuel efficiency.  There are several hybrid flavors including hybrid electric and hybrid hydraulic, these are the most common systems currently in use.  Plug-in hybrids are quickly becoming a predominant leader in the green movement as well.  Gresham Ford is the contract holder for SUV and car alternative vehicles for the National Joint Powers Alliance.  The NJPA has leveraged the buying power of over 30,000+ members to competitively negotiate contracts that provide incredible value.  Gresham Ford Fleet is a proud contract holder for alternative fuel  cars and SUVs.  For more information about how your municipality, school, city, water district, etc can take advantage call 503.665.0101.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The Electric Ford Focus is set to arrive in the Northwest September of 2012

The ONE Ford philosophy drives the Ford approach to electrified vehicle development by leveraging global product platforms to deliver a range of electrified technologies.  The power of choice has continued to be the driving force of the Ford Motor Company approach to alternative Fuel Vehicles.  The NW commercial automotive market has welcomed the alternative fuel movement with open arms.  Whether propane, natural gas, electricity, or bi-fuel is chosen it betters the northwest community and quality of life.

In fact, the Ford approach to electrified vehicles differs from other automakers producing unique electrified vehicles. By manufacturing on an existing platform, Ford is able to provide affordable electrified vehicles in global markets.  Also by working from existing platforms the cost of the electric vehicles is kept low to help make these options available to the masses.  The Ford approach to electrification provides affordable, energy saving technologies globally to the retail and commercial markets alike.  Fuels like propane are utilized the world over and have in some areas surpassed gasoline and diesel as the primary sources of fuel.  Electrify global platforms with three forms of electrification — hybrid, plug-in hybrid and all-electric — provide choices and affordability.  When vehicles become affordable not only can house wives and college students commit to the movement but municipalities and the commercial market as well.  Many businesses, especially in Oregon and Washington, make their living only after putting on lots of miles. Conversion on the F series truck line and the Econoline Vans and Wagons has proven that better options exist and are easy accessible. Ford Motor Company has worked diligently to better vehicle technology and to support the electrified vehicle experience.  Electrified vehicles offer many benefits, the most notable being fuel economy and the reduction in CO2 released into the atmosphere when compared to their gasoline counterparts. For example: hybrid and plug-in hybrid vehicles emit fewer carbon emissions from the tailpipe, all-electric vehicles emit zero CO2 emissions and the noise pollution is greatly reduced.  Plus, the grid is getting greener electric utilities are working to build more efficient plants.  Plants are generating more power from renewable sources of energy (wind, solar and hydroelectric).  Electricity is considered a common alternative fuel and a premium alternative fuel option for the commercial market.  Electrified vehicles offer one more fuel choice for consumers and electrified vehicles help protect against price fluctuations at the pump.  With gas passing $4 a gallon, there is no time like the present to  look seriously at making your fleet, no matter the size, green.

HYBRIDS & EVs: Blueprint for Sustainability

Ford developed the Blueprint for Sustainability model to help determine how we could best deliver affordable fuel economy to millions of customers and to do our part to reduce CO2 emissions. The model has allowed Ford dealerships to create a powertrain and technology migration path for the short-, mid- and long-term across our product lineup.

Short-term 2007-2011 Mid-term 2012-2020 Long-term 2020+
    • Better leverage existing technologies:
    • 2.0L and 3.5L EcoBoost™ engines
    • PowerShift 6-speed Automatic transmission
    • Electric Power-Assisted Steering (EPAS)
    • Hybrids
    • Expand EcoBoost availability and couple it with significant weight reductions
    • Expand hybrid lineup and introduce world-class plug-in hybrids and all-electric vehicles

    • Generate greater volumes of plug-in hybrids and all-electric vehicles  

    Hybrid Electric Vehicles — currently available on Escape, Fusion and Lincoln MKZ, gasoline hybrids combine an internal combustion engine with an electric motor for improved fuel economy and/or performance over a conventional gasoline engine. The battery electric
    systems on hybrids are “regenerative” — meaning they produce their own electric power to recharge the battery — and do not need to be plugged in.  These vehicles are currently available at Oregon Ford Dealerships, like Gresham Ford Fleet.

    For more information to make your fleet greener or to receive our FREE Green conversion report contact Gresham Ford Fleet at 503.665.0101.

    Tuesday, February 21, 2012

    Ford Motor Company Gets Zippy

    Ford Motor Company and Zipcar are collaborating to provide car-sharing vehicles on college campuses.  Car sharing is a more environmentally sustainable approach to getting around other than everyone owning and maintaining their own vehicles.

    This strategy is believed to support the minimization of traffic and emmissions around the county.  Portland Oregon has proven to be one of the most progressive and green areas of the country and the share-car movement is no exception.  Zipcar has made their market in the Portland area market especially downtown by Portland State University and University of Portland.

    Ford Motor Company is using the Students with Drive grant program in order to provide up to $300,000 in grants that will be awarded to student  organizations and universities.  Through the collaboration with Zipcar Ford is able to help offer $10 off the $35 annual membership fee for the first 100,000 new University people to sign up.  New members will also get $1 off the use on any new Ford vehicle at the participating colleges.

    Ford is driven to provide new innovative methods of accelerating newer green technology to the world.  The release of the all electric Ford Focus and Electric Transit Connect are creating excitement rarely seen in the automotive market.  

    Gresham Ford Fleet currently holds the State of Oregon contract for all Ford vehicles #0434 and sells to many universities and colleges in the NW.  Zipcar is another wonderful solution that only increases the value provided to the good citizens of the northwest.  Gresham Ford Fleet provides compact sedans and suv's to the Portland Metro area and appreciates the collective efforts that are making our community better and greener.
    For more information about how you can take advantage of this grant program contact Zipcar at 503.3628.3539.

    Friday, February 17, 2012

    2013 Police Interceptor Ride & Drive Event for Oregon and Washington Police Officers

    The police interceptor has been purpose built even though from the outside it appears to be the same as the retail version of the Explorer and Taurus; nothing could be farther from the truth.  First responders shared with Ford Motor Company engineers that problems arise sometimes when officers are asked to rotate between a sedan and SUV police vehicle.  The body roll, power train, and transmission are often times very different from one vehicle to the next.  Engineers have worked to carefully calibrate each police interceptor to create a consistency within the product line.  These calibrations allow officers to go from the PI Sedan to the PI Utility with very few alterations.  Both police vehicles are offered with the same center console stack, same steering wheel controls, same seat beats, ensuring that officers are safer and more prepared for the job at hand.  The similarities also benefit the fleet managers who now have the advantage of stocking less maintenance parts because both Police Interceptor vehicles use many of the same parts, for example the same disc brakes.  Each vehicle also has very similar body roll which helps to instill confidence in officer pursuits because they know what to expect.

    Many officers have said that they prefer the rear wheel drive power provided by many of the Police Interceptor competitors however, after they drive the All Wheel Drive Utility and Sedan Police Interceptors many have changed their mindset.  All Wheel drive vehicles provide a much more intuitive driving experience and require less training than the traditional rear wheel drive pursuit vehicles.  The first responder community is changing their opinions on the innovations of all wheel drive technology.  The Ti-VCT engine provides power when you need it because Ford engineers listened to the first responder community and calibrated the gears to match the needs of the police community.  The Ford Police Interceptors share a number of improvements to safety, performance, durability, and technology.  officers will love the mobile office considerations that have been made to this purpose built automotive solution.  Government Fleet Managers will appreciate the service, maintenance and up fit friendly commonalities for the sedan and utility Ford Police Interceptors.  Both Police vehicles come with identical bumper to bumper limited warranties that covers shared elements like All Wheel Drive drive train and high performance brakes; for all these reasons the new Ford Police cars provide a substantial savings to the bottom line and with over 3,400 Ford dealerships across America there will never be a lack of customer support.

    The Ford Police Car is still the only vehicle to be tested and pass a 75 mph rear end crash test rating.  This certification underlines the "got your back" mantra of Ford Municipal Fleet.  The all new 2013 Police Interceptors are also available with ballistic front door panels.  Each panel is level 3 rated by the National Institute of Justice Standards (NIJ).  There is also a plate in the front seat backs to keep officers safe from being stabbed or shot through the front seat.  This security combined with hidden rear door lock plungers that require a manual override operation by an officer in the front continue to maintain a safe environment for our sworn officers.

    Both Police Interceptor vehicles are pursuit rated including the Utility version.  The safety cell construction of the Ford Municipal Engineering Team provides help to direct the force of an impact around the occupants.  Crumple zones are placed in order to absorb and dissipate the energy of a crash.  The safety canopy system utilizes in other Ford products has also been used for the Police Interceptor models and is standard equipment.

    The new 2013 police Interceptor configuration utilizes up to 20% less fuel that comparably equipped Crown Victoria's.  The question for most municipalities will be rather or not to take advantage of the available Eco-Boost engine on the PI Sedan.  The Police Calibrated performance of this vehicle is impressive but does come with a $3000 increase over the standard engine.  Many operating cost reports report significant cost saving of fuel over the life of the vehicle. that far exceed the initial cost of the Eco-Boost engine.  However even with the standard engine, these police cars are impressive. The six speed transmission is calibrated to have shift points that enhance acceleration and responsiveness.  The electronic power assist steering responds more responsively than the Crown Victoria.  There is no need to over steer with the new Police Interceptor, which makes light work of steering.

    Even the wheels and tires of the new Police Cars are heavy duty and built to impress even the daily duty drivers.  The beefy 18" steel wheels are five spoke and leave lots of space to help keep the substantially larger disc brakes cool.  The Z rated tires are specifically designed for police duty and have increase longevity and decreased stopping distances.  The tire pressure monitoring system is also standard.  This option is important because if tires are not properly inflated they can be unsafe or wear unevenly which creates a maintenance issue down the road.  Ask about the Gresham Ford Fleet Free nitrogen fill when you order your Police Interceptor.  Gresham Ford Fleet is proud to provide State of Oregon Contract #0434 pricing to all ORPIN users that are utilizing the Oregon Cooperative Purchasing Network. Users of the Western States contracting Alliance are also able to utilize this contract.

    Ford has made every effort to make police car purchases a turnkey process.  With the addition of a heavy-duty 220 AMP alternator all of your state of the art support, ie radar, lights, radios, cameras, computers and printers are all provided for.

    Body roll has been a necessary evil up to this point with utilizing SUV's for police vehicles.  Ford engineers have again gone above and beyond to make the minimal body roll the same in the Police Interceptor Utility as it is in the Sedan model.  The upgraded suspension is smooth and predictable, even at high speeds.  The hope is that officers will have the ability to work in either a PI sedan or PI Utility with minimal adjustments; even with pit maneuvers.  The uni body construction with a brawny beefed up stabilizer bar does wonders in making this vehicle line more intuitive to drive and drive safely.

    Ford is also offering Microchip technology that allows the option of having one key for the entire fleet.  This option has the potential to substantially reduce the cost of keeping multiple keys for drivers and fleet managers.

    We know that a lot of time is spent driving police vehicles and recognize that it needs to be comfortable as possible.  Ford answered with smaller bolsters allowing for comfortable seating with your duty belt included.

    To schedule your personalized demonstration drive contact Gresham Ford Fleet today at 503-665-0101 or fleet@greshamford.com today.  Orders are now being accepted.  Pricing is available upon request and please let us know what municipality you are with so that we can provide all your contract options.  

    Monday, February 13, 2012

    Energy Tax Credits for Fleet Vehicles

    Oregon has courted several Electric Vehicle Manufacturers to
     Oregon In Order to  better serve the environment
    and the Oregon Business Community.  
    The State of Oregon is known for being environmentally conscience as innovative.  New temporary rules related to energy incentives (tax credits) for alternative fuel vehicle infrastructure go into effect today.  Laws providing tax credits like these are very important at expanding alternative fuel fleets within the northwest.  These tax credits cover facilities for mixing, storing, compressing or dispensing fuels for alternative fuel vehicles and include charging stations for electric vehicles. However many fleet may already have propane fueling stations on their premises.  Alternative fuel conversion vehicles are available for propane, natural gas and an ever expanding line of electric vehicles.  Ford Motor Company has worked tirelessly to partner with conversion experts like Roush to provide a wide variety of alternative fuel options to fit each and every fleet's need while helping them maintain environmental friendliness.  The State of Oregon's  Alternative Fuel Vehicle Ownership is growing tremendously but could still be higher.  

    The new temporary rules are a result of House Bill 3672 (2011) that replaced the Business Energy Tax Credit program. The Oregon Department of Energy will be issuing its first opportunity announcement for these projects after Feb. 13, 2012. At that time, corresponding application forms and guidelines regarding eligible costs will also be available. Business Owners and Fleet Managers are able to access these resources through the Department of Energy as well as organizations like the Columbia Willamette Clean Cities Coalition.  

    The first opportunity announcement will set aside part of the $20 million biennial cap on tax credits for all transportation projects, with the remainder of the tax credits held for public transit projects. The Electric Focus and Electric Transit Connect are just two of the vehicles that qualify for this new tax credit.  
    A copy of the rules can be found on the Oregon Department of Energy’s website at: http://www.oregon.gov/ENERGY/CONS/Rulemaking2011-HB3672.shtml#Energy_Incentives_Program_Rules
    The department will be adopting permanent rules later in 2012.  A great blog to keep an eye on is this Alternative Renewal Energy Blog.  There are so many advances coupled with so much technology it can sometimes be difficult to keep up with all the new options.  
    About the Department of Energy: The Oregon Department of Energy provides tax credits, loans, technical assistance and energy information for homes, businesses, manufacturing, farms, ranches, schools and governments. For more information about how the Oregon Department of Energy can help you achieve the most bang for your buck contact the Columbia Willamette Clean Cities Coalition or the Oregon Department of Energy.  If you are considering converting your fleet and taking advantage of these tax credits while they are available contact the Gresham Ford Fleet Department at 503.665.0101 or e-mail fleet@greshamford.com

    Monday, February 6, 2012

    Is your Municipal Fleet Plugged In?

    Ford has been advancing electrified vehicle technology for more than
    a decade. Today we’re creating the future of electrified vehicles with
    the development of hybrid, plug-in hybrid and all electric vehicles. Gresham Ford Fleet also believes in the Power of Choice.  Ford has been providing reliable, efficient hybrid electric vehicles on the road for over 10 years.  Many Government Fleet Buyer have enjoyed the low operating costs of vehicles like the Ford Escape Hybrid.
    Ford Hybrid Electric Vehicles for Municipal Fleets

    Instead of developing only one type of electrified vehicle and expecting everyone to adapt their lifestyle to the car, Ford offers the power of choice – a plan that allows us to come to market with three different types of electrified power trains that meet the broadest range of customer needs. That way, more people have the option to choose an energy-saving low-emissions vehicle. And the more people who make that choice, the more the planet will benefit.  Government Fleet Managers know that vehicles in their fleet must adapt to the people utilizing them.  Providing choice and options to the Municipal Marketplace is Gresham Ford Fleet's mission.  "Providing a truly fabulous value to the taxpayer benefits us all" says Bess Wills, Gresham Ford General Manager.  Portlanders are very conscience about their environmental impact and the three different power train options for alternative fuel vehicles help to make the endeavor possible and easy.   Instead of developing only one type of electrified vehicle and expecting everyone to adapt their lifestyle to the car, Ford offers the power of choice – a plan that allows us to come to market with three different types of electrified power trains that meet the broadest range of customer needs. That way, more people have the option to choose an
    energy-saving low-emissions vehicle. And the more people who make that choice, the more the planet will benefit.  Gresham Ford Fleet supports environmental awareness and was the first automotive dealership to become certified as a GREAT (Gresham Resource Efficiency Assistance To) Business.  Recycling and reducing waste are just two of the approaches that helped to also reduce utility bills and waste.  
    2011 Salute to Dealers Nominee,  Presidents Award Dealership, 2011 Readers Choice Award Winner - Gresham Ford 

    Gresham Ford Fleet has been a strong supporter of alternative fuel vehicles and offering cost effective solutions that exemplify the value added advantage to the taxpayer.  The State of Oregon has always been at the forefront of the Alternative Vehicle movement and is happy to offer Hyrbid Vehicles as well as plug-in vehicles on State of Oregon Contrract #0434 for ALL Ford Vehicles with Gresham Ford Fleet.   

    Keep Up With Gresham Ford News with our Facebook Page

    For more information about Alternative Fuel Vehicles or Gresham Ford Fleet, please contact Annette Wetzel-Ramirez, Fleet Director.

    Thursday, February 2, 2012

    Introducing the next generation Police Interceptor from Gresham Ford Fleet

    The all-new Ford Police Interceptor Sedan and Utility are projected to improve gas mileage as much as 20% from the Crown Victoria.  This isn't the only technological upgrade either.  There are three V6 engines available with 6-speed automatic transmission to achieve an optimum balance of horsepower  torque and fuel efficiency achieved through advanced technology.  Most importantly, these engines provide the pursuit rated performance law enforcement and first responders require to get the job done.

    The Police Interceptor Sedan comes standard with a 3.5L V6 engine that produces 280 horsepower and 250lb ft of torque.  If you want more power upgrade to the 3.5L EcoBoost V6 that delivers 365 horsepower and 350 lb ft of torque.  It also features direct injection with twin turbochargers, there is no lag here.

    To experience the all new Police Interceptor Line Up visit www.FordPoliceInterceptorTour.com .  The NW region will be gathering in Auburn Washington for this Ride & Drive opportunity open to the First Responder Community.  This is a fantastic opportunity to drive the vehicles and "kick the tires" with Factory Ford Motor Company experts at your finger tips.

    You will be impressed by the Twin independent variable cam timing (Ti-VCT) which allows the camshafts to operate the intake valves and exhaust values at different times in the combustion cycle, based on speed and load.  The result is outstanding efficiency under low load conditions and remarkable power when accelerating.  The Direct Injection of the 3.5L EcoBoost V6 engine features direct injection, where each fuel injector is positioned to deliver a precise fuel spray directly into the combustion chamber during the intake strokes.

    The twin turbochargers on the 3.5L EcoBoost V6 engine use energy from the engine's exhaust to "boost" the air going into the engine to generate power and torque.  And turbo lag is virtually eliminated.  When you drive you experience immediate response when stepping on the accelerator.  Each engine is built to rigorous standards, witht he goal of delivering exceptional performance.  Test engines spend hours upon hours running at peak power, testing overall strength and ensuring maximum performance in the wide range of driving conditions police face every day.  The NW First Responder Community is forced to deal with wet pavement, icy roads and lots of wind, the Police Interceptor makes all of that a little more tolerable.