Ford has announced that the 2014 Ford F-150 line will offer an engine option that can run on compressed natural gas (CNG). That means the 2014 Ford F-150 CNG will be the only available half-ton truck on the market that will run on compressed natural gas or or liquefied petroleum gas (LPG).
With the addition of the F-150 CNG, Ford will have a total of 8 vehicles available to run on clean-burning, inexpensive CNG/LPG. Sales of Ford’s CNG/LPG vehicle have been alright at 15,000 vehicles for 2013 which was an increase of more than 25 percent from 2012. Could the 2014 Ford F-150 CNG improve CNG sales?
The Ford F-150 CNG with come equipped with a 3.7-liter V6 engine that will be factory-installed with a gaseous-fuel prep package that includes hardened valves, valve seats, pistons and rings so it can operate on either natural gas or gasoline through separate fuel systems. That means buyers can run CNG when it is convenient for them. The V6 engine can go 750 miles on 1 tank of gas and will average 23 mpg on the highway.
That sounds pretty good to us but what are the benefits are running on CNG? Mainly the cost and the fact that certified CNG usage by the EPA can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent. CNG currently sells for an average of $2.11 per gallon of gasoline equivalent, and is as low as $1 in some parts of the country, representing a significant savings over unleaded regular fuel. The national average for unleaded regular fuel is $3.66 per gallon as of today. So CNG vehicle afford some stability against fluctuating gas prices and have typically have better maintenance costs.
“With the money saved using CNG, customers could start to see payback on their investment in as little as 24 to 36 months.” commented Jon Coleman, Ford fleet sustainability and technology manager.
CNG/LPG engine prep pacakge will cost a buyer $315 before the customer chooses a Ford Qualified Vehicle Modifier (FQVM) to supply fuel tanks, fuel lines and unique fuel injectors. The work a FQVM will need to retrofit an F-150 to run on CNG will cost approximately $7,500 to $9,500 depending on fuel tank capacity. That is a bit expensive but hopefully Jon Coleman is right about the payback in gas savings.
Ford established a rigorous qualification program for alternative-fuel vehicle modifiers. The FQVM program is intended to help modifiers achieve greater levels of customer satisfaction and obviously make sure CNG/LPG conversions go right. Ford maintains the engine and powertrain limited warranty (five years or 60,000 miles) and the modifier is responsible for the CNG/LPG system component warranty.
In the next year, Ford will offer 8 commercial vehicles with a gaseous-prep option which includes:
- Transit Connect van and wagon
- Transit van, wagon, cutaway and chassis cab
- E-Series van, wagon, cutaway and stripped chassis
- F-Series Super Duty pickup and F-350 chassis cab
- F-Series Super Duty chassis cab (F-450, F-550)
- F-650 medium-duty truck
- F53 and F59 stripped chassis
- 2014 F-150 light-duty pickup
The main market the 2014 Ford F-150 CNG will appeal to will be businesses that operate large fleets of vehicles. “Businesses and fleet customers have been asking Ford to make F-150 available with CNG capability,” said Jon Coleman. AT&T is one of many Ford customers that are finding value in CNG. The telecommunications giant recently purchased 650 F-350 chassis cabs with the CNG-prep option.
It will be interesting to see what companies buy the 2014 F-150 CNG. Who do you think will be buying them?