Sales of Ford vehicles capable of running on compressed natural gas or propane autogas have reached record levels, as businesses and commercial customers seek relief from constantly fluctuating gas prices.
In response to increased customer demand for compressed natural gas (CNG) and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) ready vehicles, Ford has expanded its portfolio of product offerings in this growing alternative-fuel market segment.
Since 2009, we’ve seen the number of Built Ford Tough commercial vehicles sold with factory-prepped engines for CNG/LPG upfit increase by more than 350 percent,” said Jon Coleman, Ford Fleet Sustainability and Technology manager. “To expand power of choice for our commercial customers, we are offering CNG/LPG prepped engines in additional vehicle nameplates – from the Transit Connect compact van up to medium-duty F-650 models.”
Companies and fleet customers are also making long-term commitments to CNG. The City of Indianapolis has committed to shifting its cars, heavy trucks, and police cruisers to a mix of electricity and natural gas, aiming to eliminate use of conventional gas and diesel fuels by 2025.
Ford will offer the all-new Transit range of full-size vans, wagons, cutaway, and chassis cab models powered by a 3.7L V-6 equipped with a CNG/LPG prep kit to assist customers running their vehicles with these clean fuels.
Transit joins the current compact Transit Connect van, wagon, and taxi lineup; Ford Super Duty pickups; stripped chassis, E-Series vans, wagons and cutaways; and medium-duty F-450, F-550, and F-650 variants in offering factory-prepped engines for CNG/LPG conversion.
The next generation of the Transit Connect range will add yet another CNG-ready engine when it goes on sale later this year, offering a 2.5L four-cylinder that the automaker said is more responsive and fuel efficient due to its use of intake-variable camshaft timing.
Each Ford engine that is factory-prepped for gaseous conversion comes equipped with hardened valves and valve seats, and Super Duty trucks equipped with the 6.2L V-8 feature a unique bi-fuel intake manifold to accommodate these cleaner-burning fuels.
CNG/LPG engine prep from the factory costs approximately $325 before the customer chooses a partner to supply fuel tanks, fuel lines, and unique fuel injectors. Upfits run approximately $9,500 to $12,500, depending on fuel tank capacity.
Ford is collaborating with qualified upfitters to deliver completed vehicles under its Qualified Vehicle Modifier program.