Ford to offer a bi-fuel version of the F-250 and F-350 Super Duty pickups

Article by Christian Andrei, on October 3, 2011

Beginning 2012, Ford Motor Co. will be offering a high-performance, bi-fuel version of the F-250 and F-350 Super Duty pickups. And to accomplish this, Ford has partnered with Westport Innovations Inc., which is based in Vancouver, British Columbia. It manufactures natural gas engines. This Canadian firm builds the bi-fuel Westport WiNG power system, which runs on natural gas or regular gasoline.

In a statement, Westport said that the WiNG system is an advanced, integrated bi-fuel system for passenger and commercial vehicles that are aimed at fleet customers.

The bi-fuel F-250 and F-350 pickups are powered by Ford's 6.2-liter V-8 engine. According to Gerry Koss, fleet marketing manager for Ford, buyers will have to pay $350 more if they choose to install the bi-fuel system on a Super Duty pickup with a 6.2-liter gasoline engine, says Autonews.

Since six months ago, a separate, dedicated natural gas engine option has been made available on Super Duty trucks. Ford began to team up with specialists from outside the company in 2008 for their lineup of natural gas powered vehicles. The E-series van was the first model to be sold.

The Transit Connect van followed it. In a statement, Ian Scott, president of Westport's light duty division, said that as more owners become aware of the economic and operational advantages of a cleaner fuel that's sourced from North America, customer interest is raised throughout the spectrum from various fleets for a factory-validated product.

Koss said that it’s still too early to make projections about the sales volumes for the bi-fuel Super Duty trucks. Typically, natural gas is priced by up to 50% lower than diesel fuel on a per-gallon basis. Westport said that the Ford F-250 and F-350 pickups with the optional bi-fuel system undertook the manufacturing tests for safety and durability that other Ford products went through.

Ford has begun producing the 2014 F-150 that can run on compressed natural gas, making the American automaker the only one to offer an LPG/CNG capable pickup truck.

The 2014 Ford F-150 uses a 3.7-L V6 engine that comes with a gaseous-fuel prep package that is installed in the factory, and includes valve seats, pistons and rings, and hardened valves, enabling it to use either gasoline or natural gas using separate fuel systems. This engine has an EPA-rated fuel efficiency rating at 23 miles per gallon on highways and 19 mpg combined city and highway driving.

You can opt to have your truck fitted with a bi-fuel CNG/LPG engine package. This will give you at least 750 miles on combined CNG and gasoline depending on what tank sizes you select.

Ford fleet sustainability and technology manager Jon Coleman says that business customers and fleet customers have been asking the carmaker to come out with an F-150 that has CNG capability so that they could avail of lower priced fuel and clean emissions.

The CNG/LPG engine prep costs $315. The customer would then choose their own Ford Qualified Vehicle Modifier where they could get fuel tanks, fuel injectors and fuel lines. The installation would range from around $6,000 to $9,500, depending on the tank capacity that you choose.

Using CNG can help protect fleet administrators from fluctuating petroleum prices and can help you save on vehicle operating costs. On the average, CNG goes for $2.10 per gallon and in some parts of the country, it sells for as low as $1. This would give you great savings, especially if you are currently using unleaded fuel. The average price for unleaded regular fuel is $3.29 for every gallon.

Customers can also enjoy shorter payback periods by availing of several state incentives. For instance, Texas, Pennsylvania, Florida, Oklahoma and close to 15 other states are now offering tax incentives and rebates for CNG-converted or CNG-powered vehicles. In Florida, fleets can receive as much as $25,000 in rebates starting in 2014.

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