Spied! Ford F-150 CNG From Factory?

Ford F-150 CNG 1 II
 

Photos by KGP Photography

Our spy shooters have caught this nondescript-looking Ford F-150 roaming around its Dearborn, Mich., headquarters, sporting a CNG (compressed natural gas) sticker on the tailgate. 

To date, there are several companies that make retrofits for the F-150 CNG conversion, but none are certified as a top-tier converter by Ford (thus keeping the factory OE warranty intact). Of course, this is not true for the Super Duties, where several companies have relatively close or on-site representation at the Kentucky truck plant where the converters do their work on the F-250, F-350, F-450 and F-550 trucks as they come off, and then back onto, the production line. 

This could mean Ford is looking to get more aggressive with an in-house CNG configuration on a new engine or to offer the package through dealerships for fleet or regular consumers. Depending on where you are in the country, you can find CNG (at equivalent gasoline) pricing per gallon anywhere from $1.70 to $3.00. Assuming the infrastructure and availability for CNG improves over the next several years, this type of alternative fuel could save some buyers a considerable amount of money over the life of their vehicles.

We should note that it is not unusual that a CNG-using engine to feel down a little on power and deliver less fuel economy (when compared to gasoline), but when supplementing a typical engine, the range-extending results can be impressive. 

Ford F-150 CNG 2 II

Ford F-150 CNG 3 II

 

Comments

CNG also burns a lot cleaner too. Just another bonus.

As long as the tank doesn't take up half the bed making the truck useless.

If it isn't aftermarket, why wouldn't they put the tank under the bed?

Ford should really step it up on their truck designs. The F-150 looks basically the same as it did when it came out in 2004, save for some minor exterior changes. The Super Duty series is even more outdated. How many nose jobs is that thing going to get anyway? Talk about beating a dead horse for goodness sakes. Like I said, Ford needs to step it up ASAP, or I am gone from driving their trucks forever.

I like the idea, CNG burns far cleaner, is cheaper than gas and is plentiful. Plus, one of the byproducts of its combustion is water vapor, which helps counteract the water used in fracking to get it. A factory installed system with a warranty and no tank in the bed would be great.

@ lestercollins- really? GM didnt change the C-10 for almost 20 years, and it sold great for most of that time. Why? it was a great truck. Good trucks sell no matter what they look like.

@ Mike

'73-'87 is not quite 20 years. Ford also ran the old F-Series body style from '80 or '81 to '96.

@Lester Collins,

It has been already noted, by Ford that they would like to keep some of the same design pedigree as past years, thus, have succeeded.

@LesterCollins - a brands identity is tied to its looks. Truck owners for the most part are traditional/conservative types. They like consitency and continuity. Evolution versus revolution. The similarity from the first 2004 F150 to 2013 is on purpose. The frames, drivetrains, suspensions, interiors, and snout have all been changed over those 19 years. The SuperDuty is getting long in the tooth in every area with the exception of drivetrains but that is a whole other discussion.

If one looks at Dodge (now Ram) that same evolutionary design orthodoxy exists. Even Dodge cars have adapted that bold "crosshair" grill style as their corporate face.

Chevy/GM had the biggest departure from design evolution with the GMT800-900's and they have experienced decreased sales and are panned by friends and foes for that abrupt change.

If one were to take it a step further, look at the success of the Mustang when it came out with the more retro fifth generation and especially the 2009 redesign. There is much fear among enthusiasts that Ford will completely depart from that tie-in to the early Mustangs.

In the final analysis, what matters is whether or not you are happy, if Ford does not satisfy your aesthetic palate, there are other brands to chose from.

@ Lestercollins

Most people that buy trucks do not make their decision on looks as a major deciding factor. Fleets, which is what makes F150s number one year after year, and people that need trucks buy them for their ability as a major deciding factor. Ford cater to fleets and and people that needs trucks with their endless array of engine, bed, cab, payload, and other options. When most now only have 3 engine choices, F150 has 4. Before the updates of the new Ram and GMs, Ford was the only truck you can get a 6.5 bed with a 4 door truck. They also offer a 7 lug axle heavy duty payload package that has a payload of 3100lbs in a regular cab and 2300lbs in a 4 door. Those are some of the reasons why they are on top and people that need trucks like fleets choose the F150, not just by looks. If you are just going by looks as a decision factor then you probably don't really need that much of a truck in the first place.

CNG is all well and good, but I'd rather have a small diesel option.

Maybe the same 3.2L they're putting in the Transit would work. ~250hp/400ft-lbs tq would be perfect. Especially if it's rated for 21 city/30 highway like the Grand Cherokee diesel.

Sorry, I meant to say"Before the updates of the new Ram and GMs, Ford was the only truck you can get a 6.5 bed with a 4 door HALF TON truck."

My gut tells me Ford will use that 3.2L Duratorque motor in the next gen F150 not this one. It likely wouldn't get good enough mileage to justify the costs but in the next gen they can incorporate much better aerodynamics that should at least help the highway mpg's since diesel typcally does the best there anyway.

@howam00 - I do wonder if Ford will use the 3.2 Duratorque in their 1/2 tons. It may not have the "vroom vroom" to keep leadfooted North Americans happy. I'd welcome the option over an Ecoboost. I'm more comfortable accepting a turbo diesel over a turbo gasser. Time will tell if my fears are unfounded.

I'm not a big fan if CNG. For several reasons.

1. A lot of the utility of the vehicle is used to store the bulky gas. It would make more sense to use this stuff for industrial commercial use.

2. The manufacturers are using CNG to boost their use of larger gasoline engines. This way they can fudge their CAFE/EPA figures similarly to the "small" SUV trucks.

3. The gas might be cheap but the infrastructure will cost more to maintain and use.

4. The cost of the tanks will be quite expensive. We use very similar accumulators where I work and they are very expensive.

I am not a Fan of CNG. It has been an off/on fad for decades and never catches on. I am very pleased with the new gas engines Ford has introduced into the F150 line.
So many people comment on the look of trucks, they are workhorses, not Beauty Queens. I would never judge my truck purchase on looks. Function, dependability, capability, this is how you judge and choose a truck. Looks get you nowhere.

anyone know why in pickup trucks and vans manufacturers convert gas engines to cng but in big rigs the convert diesel engines to lng? the big motors are making the same power and torque with lng vs diesel. imagine a psd dmax or cummins converted to lng with all that torque? clean emissions so eliminate scr and dpf and 30k oil change intervals. sounds too good to be true

@F350 - good point, probably the fact that one looses cargo space due to the tanks. Another factor that is most likely the reason is you spend 8-10k for a diesel truck and the LNG conversion probably adds another 8k to the price.
Big Al pointed out that the most likely reason for manufacturers to add conversions to their gassers is to keep the green demigods happy by giving the appearance that they care.

Can someone explain to me the difference between CNG and LPG?

http://www.diffen.com/difference/CNG_vs_LPG

Thank you, Lou and Ken!
We were running LPG back in the seventies in Holland, it was about one quarter the price of regular gasoline.

@ALL1 - As crazy as it sounds now, for a few years, the F-150 was the only 1/2 ton that offered a real crew cab. Until 2008, you couldn't even get a real crew cab in any Dodge (post '93).
From '87 - '92, if you wanted a 3/4 or 1 ton GM crew cab, you had to get the old '73 to '86 truck body.

Meanwhile, Ford was stealing GM and Dodge crew cab buyers left and right. Some never went back.

Wait what are they using in the big rigs now? If space is an issue why not jack the trucks up a few more inches and put saddle tanks on the side and put steps on them like the big rigs have? Then again Fords and Rams already sit high enough, GM would have to go back to a SFA. You could do this for the heavy duties and the half tons and then they all could have diesel motors in them.

@Woopud
What is woo pud, is it what I think it is?

The same in Australia, it started back in the 70s, but LPG is still bulky.

But remember the Dutch found all that oil in the 60s, like the oil we found in Bass Strait in the 60s, some parallels between our countries.

I read in last weeks paper over here that they have found a potential oil reserve of 223 billion barrels, yes, not million. The Saudi's only have 265 billion barrels, so even if it is much smaller its still huge.

They are saying Australia could become a potential oil exporter (if its viable). I think I read $20 trillion dollars worth.

What I don't like is the subsidisation that the US government uses for CNG.

If the fuel is that good it would pay for itself, just like LPG, gasoline and diesel did.

@Big Al from Oz,

woopud is derived from my cats names (wookie & Puddy) LOL
Just curious Al, how much are you guy's paying for regular gas over there, in Holland it's almost $8 a gallon now, and on top of that you have to pay a road tax. The bigger (heavier) the car the more you pay, am I glad I'm in the States now.

LNG is liquified natural gas check out westports site they have a 15 liter engine for use in big rigs that makes 475 horse or so and the lng tanks go in the same place as normal fuel tanks. cummins also makes an isx12 for lng use. down fall is the price where to put the tanks as not to lose bed space and not many local refilling stations around

Where has this picture been taken? I would be seriously interested in getting a CNG vehicle. I know Houston is getting a new CNG station for public use, if you would like to read about it, here is the link http://shalestuff.com/controversy-2/questar-fueling-build-cng-fueling-facilities-swift-transportation-central-freight-lines/article05357

So is CNG just another fad that will likely be replaced by something else? Anyone remember Flex-Fuel E85? My truck from 2010 has the badge for it and I can't find a station anywhere.

@F350 - I was talking to a heavy duty mechanic and he told me about a guy running CNG in his big rig. He has his tanks built into the headache rack. The guy even has factory warranty on a 12 litre Cummins. The guy loves it. He also purchased a home refueling system that pumps to a higher pressure than commercial CNG stations. He never told me the cost but did say the trucker feels that he will get his money's worth and then some over the life of the tractor.

I don't think of CNG as a 'fad' or complete future replacement of gasoline, but rather as a choice. The future will be an open market and consumers will have many choices for how to fuel vehicles - CNG, gasoline, battery, Hydrogen, propoane, etc. There are infrastructure issues but vendors like Love's Travel Stops are helping bridge that gap.

I also agree with many of the commenters on the tank issue with CNG pickups. Technology should help rectify the issue but it currently takes up a lot of space and can't hold the same capacity for range as regular gas tanks. Bi-fuel is the only way to go right now unless you live in Oklahoma where CNG infrastructure is pretty extensive.

@Woopud
I just filled up my BT50 the other day with diesel and put in 60 litres for $100. So that's roughly 16 gallons or about $6.00 a gallon. I don't know what it is at the moment in the cities in Australia. Where I live its very isolated.

The price here isn't as bad a you would think because we get a high wage/salary in comparison to most OECD economies. I wouldn't mind paying $3.50 or so as the US.

I drove 460 miles on that fuel averaging 26mpg (74mph-88mph) in my pickup to go fishing and that isn't really expensive. Before anyone says I drive fast our speed limit is about 85mph.

Diesel has an extra 3 cents a litre tax which started when trucks were the primary users of diesel and the government never removed the tax.

I do think a fairer way to tax motor vehicles is on fuel only and not vehicle regristration fees etc. Because if you don't drive a vehicle many miles then you aren't paying additional tax compared to other people.

This also taxes the vehicles weight, engine size (fuel consumption) miles driven, quite fair. Taxing fuel I like.

In Australia the LPG didn't take as well as one would have thought, even with the huge price advantage.

Big A: I believe the fees for licence registration (USA) where origonally imposed to pay for the Spanish American War. A real short one by today's standards, but it created a defecit just the same. Seems to be easyer to impose than to repeal.

I just found out recently what everyone in OZ knows ...What is a Kombi?

"Traveling in a fried-out Kombi" (Men at Work)

I hear people going to Wikapedia.com.

http://alldownunder.com/australian-slang/dictionary-cars.htm

kombi - any small multi-purpose van like vehicle.

My guess = minivan

@Lou & Stevadore
In Australia a Kombi is a VW Kombi, you know the hippy vans.

I consider a true Kombi the older 60s and 70s style.

The Japanese Toyota Hi Ace vans took a toll on them. But the old Kombi's were wanting in the HP department more so than the Japanese vans which lacked herbs.

About taxation, its does seem easier to implement taxes and keep them.

The diesel tax we had was called 3x3 which was 3 cents for 3 years, but that was nearly 30 years ago. The money was supposed to go directly into roads, but who knows.

"Minivan" was coined by Chrysler in the 80's. Microbus is the same catagory as the minivan but it preceeds the nomenclature.

"A “Kombi” is what is officially called a Volkswagen Type 2 in Oz, but the nickname comes from its German moniker: Kombinationskraftwagen. Americans know it better as a VW Microbus."

With a name like that, you can see why they slanged it. And I thought Farfenugen was long.

Screw CNG, I want propane !

looking for used cng truck

This web site talks about at home filling capabilities.



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