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The 2014 Ford F-150 gets compressed natural gas option

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August 12, 2013

Ford says that the F-150 is the only half-ton pickup truck to offer the LPG/CNG option

Ford says that the F-150 is the only half-ton pickup truck to offer the LPG/CNG option

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Compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicles don't get quite as much attention as flashier battery electrics, fuel cell cars and plug-in hybrids, but they are a compelling alternative-fuel option that is available right now. They become even more compelling when they offer dual fuel capabilities. Ford has equipped the 2014 F-150 with such capabilities, calling it the only half-ton pickup truck of its kind.

The F-150, which will launch in the fall (Northern Hemisphere), becomes Ford's eighth vehicle to offer dual-fuel CNG/liquid gas capabilities for buyers that choose the gaseous-fuel prep option on the 3.7-liter V6 engine. The option equips the truck to run on both liquified petroleum gasoline and compressed natural gas through separate fueling systems, using hardware that includes hardened valves, valve seats, pistons and rings.

While the factory-installed prep option only costs US$315, buyers wishing to use CNG are just getting started. They need to have the fuel tank, lines and injectors installed by a Ford Qualified Vehicle Modifier, a process that Ford estimates will run between $7,500 and $9,500, depending upon fuel tank capacity.

Those that wish to have CNG capabilities need to have a separate fuel system installed

In the dealer lot, compressed natural gas vehicles don't look that impressive when compared to other options because their fuel economies are not that much different from gas vehicles. For instance, the 1.8-liter Honda Civic Natural Gas's fuel economy is 31 mpg (7.6 L/100km) combined, which is actually 1 mpg lower than the 1.8-liter gas version (with automatic transmission).

Where CNG vehicles excel, however, is in emissions. According to Fueleconomy.gov, CNG vehicles emit between 20 and 45 percent less smog-producing pollutants. While they don't get as far as other other green vehicles per tank, compressed natural gas is cheaper than liquid gasoline. Ford's press release puts the average cost of CNG at $2.11 per gasoline-equivalent gallon and states it can be found as low as $1 per gas-equivalent gallon in parts of the United States. This graph shows its fluctuation over the past 13 years in comparison to other fuels.

The $8,000 F-150 CNG buy-in may add a lot to the F-150's price, but the dual-fuel capabilities can provide a lot of flexibility and money savings in the long run. Drivers can take advantage of CNG's cheaper prices but still have the option of fueling up at more widely available gas stations. The Alternative Fuels Data Center's online station locator comes up with about 600 CNG stations in the United States, a tiny fraction of the more than 160,000 gas stations in the country.

"Businesses and fleet customers have been asking Ford to make F-150 available with CNG capability to take advantage of the fuel's low price and clean emissions," says Jon Coleman, Ford fleet sustainability and technology manager. "With the money saved using CNG, customers could start to see payback on their investment in as little as 24 to 36 months."

Ford projects that it will sell 15,000 LPG/CNG dual-fuel vehicles this year, which is 25 percent more than last year.

Source: Ford via AutoBlog

About the Author
C.C. Weiss Upon graduating college with a poli sci degree, Chris toiled in the political world for several years. Realizing he was better off making cynical comments from afar than actually getting involved in all that mess, he turned away from matters of government and news to cover the things that really matter: outdoor recreation, cool cars, technology, wild gadgets and all forms of other toys. He's happily following the wisdom of his father who told him that if you find something you love to do, it won't really be work.   All articles by C.C. Weiss
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9 Comments

Hopefully they will be available for non-fleet sail as well.

Slowburn
12th August, 2013 @ 09:52 pm PDT

Why is this new? In B.C. Canada the program started over 15 years ago with a government subsidy. Sadly many who tried reverted back to gasoline.

equator180
13th August, 2013 @ 07:38 am PDT

how embarrassing. the system shown here is a dinosaur. ford should check with their own affiliates in Europe where they use this for years in a much more efficient set up without wasting cargo space, money and fuel efficiency

ukrauskopf
13th August, 2013 @ 09:30 am PDT

My uncle converted the 7-UP fleet trucks 40 years ago in Oakland, CA. He charged about $1500 each. He would do an individual for $500. (He probably had to pay off someone to get the 7-UP contract.)

He told me it tripled the engine life. I would have used this conversion if I lived in a rural area powered by compressed gas. Gas delivered to your home tank is not (road) taxed because it is supposed to used "offroad", not for vehicles. That makes it much cheaper.

The only catch was you needed to install a "step down compressor" if I remember correctly.

Don Duncan
13th August, 2013 @ 11:56 am PDT

You want one right now?

http://edant.clarin.com/suplementos/autos/2005/08/18/c-00601.htm

(25 years ago.... 75% of all natural gas vehicles in the world...)

Charlie Nudelman
13th August, 2013 @ 12:20 pm PDT

This is nothing new at all UKRAUSKOPF took the words right out of my mouth, Ford in Australia trialled out a CNG unit back in 1972 or 73 on their XA or XB Falcon and a few of these are still running around to this day. And Don is right a cleaner and longer running engine to boot.

The whole concept was that you had your compressor at home in the garage and you filled up over night, so cheap it was not funny. The initial installation and heavier duty tank necessitated beefing up the suspension and a few mods but realistically not an overly expensive excercise.

Probably may explain why it did not see the light of day, the utility companies and especially the oil companies would have put up an argument , lost revenue, unsafe blah, blah, blah the usual gammut of oops we may lose some revenue and let's get in the ear of the politicians very quickly.

But in Australia LPG has been around for over 30 years in the automotive area, the predominant users are taxis which would account for about 80% Australia wide, mainly due to a significant cost factor versus petrol. CNG on the other hand not too that extent, but more common in warehousing and plant area's for forklifts and such.

LPG installations were relatively cheap to install in vehicles and the uptake was proportionally weighed against mileage and petrol costs for the considered return on investment. Plus an advantage is that you can fill up at nearly every petrol station across the country apart from very remote localities does have it's advantages.

John S
14th August, 2013 @ 12:31 am PDT

Re: John S

The compressor? veeeeeeeery bad idea... Somebody try it here year ago (his home landing in the next country...) Why? the domestic gas was cheaper than GNC... and think "...Eureka!!!..." with bad results...

They need special stations for refill (very high presure...) Tested millions times here.

Charlie Nudelman
14th August, 2013 @ 11:06 am PDT

This may be new for Ford, but In India, Maruti Suzuki has been offering dual fuel (CNG/Petrol) vehicles for over a decade now. All public transport vehicles in Mumbai and Delhi have to run on CNG.

Ashish Ganu
15th August, 2013 @ 01:46 am PDT

Compressed natural gas can be used in place of gasoline. It is also safer than other fuels because natural gas is lighter than air and disperses quickly when released.

TonWilson
30th November, 2013 @ 12:57 am PST
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