SPRINGFIELD, IL – The Illinois Department of Central Management Services (CMS) recently accepted four Ford E-85 Ford Escape Hybrids, the first hybrid gas-electric vehicle capable of running on ethanol.

As part of a Ford demonstration project that placed 20 of the vehicles in six states, the flex-fuel Escape Hybrids have been assigned to CMS, the Illinois Department of Transportation, Illinois Environmental Protection Agency, and Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity.

“Adding these new vehicles will help CMS further green the State’s fleet,” said Maureen O’Donnell, the department’s acting director. CMS purchases and maintains vehicles and fuels for Illinois agencies.

The E-85 Escape Hybrids will be fueled with low-emission, renewable ethanol produced primarily from Illinois-grown corn.

Under Governor Rod Blagojevich’s direction, CMS has created a state fleet nearly 20-percent comprised of flex-fuel vehicles. The department is also working to increase the state fleet’s use of soy-based fuel. More than 2,700 state trucks use B-5 biodiesel.