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18th June 2002


Powertrain Ltd, part of Phoenix Venture Holdings and supplier of engines and gearboxes to MG Rover Group, today announced a pilot programme to encourage Birmingham's taxi drivers to clean up their act by reducing their vehicles emissions.

In cooperation with Birmingham City Council and as part of the 'Don't Choke Britain Events' the company handed over the keys of the first cab to Ruth Watts, Secretary of the Birmingham Taxi Cooperative, and one of Birmingham's female cab drivers.

The cab is the first officially licensed cab in Birmingham to run on Liquefied Petroleum Gas fuel. The award wining K Series engine with LPG conversion is 50% quieter than current taxi diesel engines and reduces CO2 by 29%, NOx levels by 95% and particulate emissions by 92% compared to the current diesel taxis in Birmingham. Conversions will be supported by the Energy Savings Trust, a government agency established to approve and provide grants for such conversions. LPG taxis provide benefits to pedestrians, taxi passengers and taxi operators and the environment in general.

Gordon Poynter, Commercial Director of Powertrain Ltd said: "We are delighted to support this important initiative by Birmingham City Council and look forward to the prospect of many more taxi conversions with the K Series engine in LPG form in the coming months. In due course we hope to see the initiative spread to London and other cities where the famous British black cab is well established."

Ruth Watts, who shares her taxi, which is on the road up to 16 hours a day, with her husband, said: "In trials over the last month I have seen incredible savings in total running costs and at the same time I have been able to reduce the emission and noise levels - so everyone is a winner."

Councillor Bryan Nott, Chair of City Councils Licensing Committee commented: "There are approximately 1,100 Hackney carriage vehicles licensed in Birmingham and we would like to encourage as many as possible to convert to alternative fuels as it would have a positive impact on reducing air pollution as well as being cheaper to operate the vehicle."

Powertrain Ltd will be shortly inviting all drivers of black cabs in Birmingham to a presentation on the economic and environmental benefits of the K Series LPG conversion.

Issued by MG Rover Group Communications

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