FORBES

Ford Sees Growing Demand For Natural Gas Vehicles Like F-150

Joann Muller Forbes Staff - 5/04/2015 @ 12:05AM

 

Ford Motor Co. says the 2016 F-150 pickup will be available with a 5.0-liter V8 engine that can
run on compressed natural gas or propane, part of a growing lineup of CNG vehicles from the
Dearborn, Mich.-based automaker.


Ford’s commercial vehicle customers, in particular, have been asking for more trucks and
vans that can run on compressed natural gas because it lowers their fleet operating costs and
reduces greenhouse gas emissions.


NG sells for an average of $2.11 per gallon of gasoline equivalent, as of April 30, 2015, and is as
low as $1 in some parts of the country, representing a significant savings compared with
unleaded regular fuel, and an even greater savings compared with diesel. The national average
for unleaded regular fuel is $2.58 per gallon, while diesel sells for an average $2.81 per gallon,
as of April 30.


Ford says demand has been steadily increasing for the past five years. Ford sold a record 16,821
commercial vehicles with CNG/propane gaseous engine-prep packages in 2014, and says 2015
will be even stronger. Since 2009, Ford has sold more than 57,000 CNG/propane-prepped
vehicles – seven times more than all other major U.S. automakers combined.


Ford sells only a kit to prepare the engine for conversion to compressed natural gas. The factory
prep kit costs $315. It’s then up to the customer to choose a Ford-sanctioned contractor to supply
fuel tanks, fuel lines and unique fuel injectors. That modification costs between $7,500
and $9,500, depending on fuel tank capacity.


That extra cost certainly hasn’t been a sales deterrent. “The growth in interest for CNG/propaneprepped
vehicles shows a shift in fleet customers’ mindsets,” says Dick Cupka, Ford commercial
vehicle sustainability leader. “They are becoming more forward-thinking about alternative fuels,
taking into account their total cost of ownership and looking for ways to reduce their vehicle
emissions.”


The most popular vehicles for CNG/propane prep packages are F-Series Super Duty trucks, but
F-150 versions are also popular. Ford started offering CNG prep packages on the 3.7-liter V6
engine in the 2014 F-150 and sold more than 2,000 units in less than a year — exceeding
expectations by more than 40 percent. Ford expects demand to grow with the new CNG prep
package on the V8 F-150 for the 2016 model year. Orders will be taken starting this summer
with trucks on sale by winter.


Ford says 2016 F-150 trucks running on CNG or propane will be able to tow the same amount as
if they were running on gasoline. Payload capability is the same as well – minus the weight of
the installed CNG or propane system. The truck was completely redesigned for 2015 using
aluminum and other advanced lightweight materials to improve efficiency and capability.


With the addition of the 2016 F-150, Ford will offer eight commercial vehicles with a gaseousfuel
prep option – including the best-selling Transit commercial van and the compact Transit
Connect — more than any other North American auto manufacturer.


FUTURES AND OPTIONS TRADING INVOLVE SIGNIFICANT RISK OF LOSS AND
MAY NOT BE SUITABLE FOR EVERYONE. OPTIONS, CASH AND FUTURES
MARKETS ARE SEPARATE AND DISTINCT AND DO NOT NECESSARILY
RESPOND IN THE SAME WAY TO SIMILAR MARKETS STIMULUS. A MOVEMENT
IN THE CASH MARKET WOULD NOT NECESSARILY MOVE IN TANDEM WITH THE
RELATED FUTURES & OPTIONS CONTRACT BEING OFFERED. SEASONAL
DEMAND AND CURRENT NEWS IN COMMODITIES ARE ALREADY REFLECTED
IN THE PRICE OF THE UNDERLYING FUTURES.