Starting this fall, Ford Motor Co. will offer natural gas power in a half-ton pickup truck. Previously, truck makers have installed factory kits into larger vehicles only.
Available as a retrofit for years, the natural gas package now comes with a factory warranty for the 2014 F-150. The $315 gaseous prep kit will include hardened valves, seats, pistons and rings for the base truck's 3.7-liter V-6 engine. Depending on the size of the fuel tank users select, the bi-fuel truck can achieve up to 750 miles on a single fill-up.
The extra cost of the gaseous fuel system, which can be equipped to use compressed natural gas (CNG) or liquified petroleum gas (LPG), is an additional $7,500 to $9,500, Ford estimates. The work would be performed by a Ford-approved upfitter and covered under the supplier's warranty. Ford covers the gaseous-ready engines under its five-year, 60,000-mile powertrain warranty.
"Businesses and fleet customers have been asking Ford to make F-150 available with CNG capability," says Jon Coleman, Ford fleet sustainability and technology manager, in a statement. "With the money saved using CNG, customers could start to see payback on their investment in as little as 24 to 36 months."
Sales of natural-gas-powered trucks continue to be hot. This year, Ford says it is on track to produce 15,000 prepped trucks, a 25% jump since last year. CNG prices in June averaged $2.06 per gasoline-gallon equivalent, or $1.61 less than gasoline, according to the website CNGNow.com.
Fleet owners say that CNG is no longer a curiosity. For example, AT&T recently bought 650 Ford F-350 chassis-cab trucks with a CNG kit, with a goal of deploying 15,000 alternative-fuel vehicles by the end of 2018.