Chicagoans will soon be seeing more Ford Transit Connect commercial vans as 12 of the vehicles are converted into compressed natural gas taxis.

Ford plans on delivering the 12 taxis in March to Taxi Medallion Management, which will integrate the Transit Connects in fleets that no doubt also include Crown Victoria sedans. The natural gas Transit Connects emit 30-40 percent less greenhouse gas emissions and are less expensive to refuel.

"We are adding vehicles with more fuel-efficient gasoline engines, as well as vehicles with alternative-fuel sources, to find a vehicle mix that best suits our customers, our drivers, the city at large and the environment," said Michael Levine, CEO of Taxi Medallion Management. "We are excited about testing this new vehicle."

Whether in natural gas or regular gas versions, the Transit Connect continues to be slowly phased into cab fleets around the country. Will we one day find Transit Connect taxis to outnumber Crown Victorias? That will depend on the success of the test vehicles like the ones soon to drive around Chicago.

Source: Ford