2014 Ford F-150 CNG Quick Drive

1 Ford F-150 CNG II

The increased use of bi-fuel strategies in the U.S. is likely to be the next big issue for full-size pickup trucks, especially if fuel prices start creeping upward again. Both Ram Truck and GM have been pushing hard lately to make their heavy-duty trucks more fuel flexible for both commercial and fleet buyers. But Ford is the most aggressive truck maker in just about every segment, encouraging various alternative fuel hardware companies to make systems for just about every one of their truck platforms from the Transit Connect to the F-650. That means they’ve been able to work with competing companies to bring the prices of those systems down, down and down.

The latest result of this particular strategy is a compressed natural gas bi-fuel system from Altech-Eco that we got a chance to drive at the 2013 Texas Truck Rodeo outside San Antonio, Texas. The package includes a 15.7-gallon (gasoline equivalent) tank in the bed of either a Ford F-150 4x2 Crew Cab or 4x4 Super Cab with the 3.7-liter V-6 engine. The total system adds about $7,700 to the XLT Package F-150 and does not include a $315 charge Ford requires to build the base V-6 engine with dual injectors and several other upgrade engine pieces. Because Ford controls the build of the engine, they can fully warranty the engine just like every other Ford F-150.

No matter what fuel it's using, the F-150 CNG engine is designed to feel identical when running. During our quick drive over nasty dirt roads through an East Texas ranch where we punished the two-wheel-drive up and down hills and river washes, we found absolutely no performance difference between either fuel. We’re told the added range with the CNG tank in the bed can mean running up to 800 or 900 miles between fill-ups. Unlike some systems out there, Altech-Eco allows the driver to decide which fuel they want to run on with a small manual switch on the side of the dash. The only other way to identify the truck from a "normal" F-150 (when sitting inside the truck) is by identifying an extra fuel gauge where the 4x4 switch would be next to the radio.

We’re told that the system in no way negatively impacts the vehicle’s payload or towing capacity, but clearly it does reduce the bed space by about a third when equipped with the shortbed. Although this may not be a huge problem for many, it will be an issue for some personal-use and commercial buyers. The system itself weighs just over 200 pounds, or the weight of one adult male passenger. No doubt one of these alternative fuel suppliers Ford is working with will figure out how to mount the added tank somewhere that it doesn’t shrink bed cargo space.

The bi-fuel systems can be ordered straight from a fleet dealership right now, which is likely to have their preferences on which system they've had the best experience with. At this point, Ford has more than a half dozen qualified companies they work with to upfit to CNG or LPG fuels. As they get more popular and the infrastructure builds, we expect these systems to continue coming down in price as Ford continues encouraging its suppliers to keep competing against one another.

We’ll have more on the real-world fuel costs over time when we get one into our offices to test. To read the Ford press release from earlier this year when the announcement was first made that they'd be offering the systems (from multiple, qualified suppliers) on half-ton pickups, click here.

4 Ford F-150 CNG II

3 Ford F-150 CNG II

2 Ford F-150 CNG II

5 Ford F-150 CNG II

 

Comments

Sort of interesting, except that there's no significant infrastructure for NGVs yet. Infrastructure for gasoline powered vehicles has been around my whole life.

Ok, so ten years from now the beginnings of a huge infrastructure for NGVs is in place, the greenies will start whining about some other part of our lives. This is a very political topic. Some very powerful folks across the globe have a lot at stake here.

And we who enjoy trucks do too.

So what's the real reason our government and our auto industry are going through this exercise? Ask your congressman!

I think that these systems are much cheaper and more simple if you have a carb as opposed to fuel injection.

Cng is the next big thing in automotive engine tech, bigger than hybrid or plug in tech. The us has more ng that anyone, and the global warming potential of natural gas is far less than gasoline. All we need is filling stations and larger safer tanks for cars and trucks.

Gawd knows as soon as nat gas is sold at fueling stations the current price of nat gas will quickly catch up with gasoline. T Boone Pickens is all over that.

Ditto on the lacking infrastructure and rollout cost issues. And nat gas fuel economy is slightly less than gasoline.

The fuel tanks are larger, heavier, and more difficult to carry in a vehicle. Because of that a straight NGV powered vehicle has less range.

I prefer the idea of dedicated, direct-injected LNG. I think that would get the most power and miles out of natural gas

Why reinvent the wheel with yet another potentially unstable commodity that is not sustainably produced?

Plug in hybrid electric or hydrogen fuel cells are the technologies that truck makers need to be developing. For one, every home has electricity. You can literally not build a home here without electricity, you can not get a CO. Natural gas on the other hand, not every home has that. We have propane for example.

Ford probably got some government handouts to develop this and in keeping with their agreement with the oil cartels to do nothing about their worst guzzlers, it's a win win for all. An option that won't sell due to the added price and lack of infrastructure, and some government cheese.

There are a large number of public NG outlets where I live. Our city bus system has been NG for many years and allows public use. PGE, our city garbage collections station and 4 or five others. I believe that UPS is public with their stations.

You can down load an app for your phone that lists public NG stations. With the gasoline as a back up one would be able to travel through out the U.S. Admittedly there would be some inconvenience in many areas taking you out of your intended path. But NG is much more available than most people think.

junk RAM IS THE BEST

You are seeing more alternative fuel vehicles being offered because of the large supply of natural gas that our country has. You guys that just want everything to stay the same are so behind the times. It is time to look to the future or you will be left behind.

junk RAM IS THE BEST

-For one, It's DODGE. They EVEN started calling segments of Nascar SPONSORED BY DODGE TRUCKS again!!! About TIME. You are RIGHT though. Dodge Ram IS the Best. And SINCE this is a NG thing sponsored by the FEDERAL GOVT, Why isn't the GovtMoCo Sierra leading the charge???? Ford is BETTER than this. Leave the Liberal Greenie movement to GovtMotors. OBAMA can Drive a GovtMoCo Sierra Bling Bling Denali.

USA,Chevrolet,Dodge & Ford! Just say NO to GovtMoCo.

With a free, personal use permit from TBAC, anyone can legally produce 10K gal. of "moonshine" alcohol a year for about $1.20 a gal.(after cost of the still).

If your truck is E85 compatible, no modification is needed.

Squirt a couple gallons of regular gas in your empty 30gal. tank; add alcohol to top it off and voilà, E85 fuel for less than half the price of regular unleaded + engines run faster, cleaner, cooler and burn fuel more completely than they do with big oil's pricy petroleum fuel. Slightly less MPG's is a minor drawback.

It is a little more work to make for fuel than consumption because water needs to be completely removed for fuel.

If you have some mechanical skills and the patience to smoke meat, you can run a still.

How cool would it be to have a bumper sticker that says:
"This truck runs on Moonshine!"

@MoparMadness, Nascar sucks. I know where you got that saying though and amen to it. It's popular thought even in Nevada. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Irp1ROCmKDA

The problem is, Chevrolet still isn't up to Ford and Dodge standards. I don't know if they ever will be again. They used to be better than both. GM drove them into the ground. I contend it's the very reason they needed the government in the first place. They didn't stick to the one thing that worked. I'm not into redneck rock but I do have an old friend who did well with a somewhat country track. I call it patriot rock.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vsQzw_Ax8Cw

And yes, long live Chevrolet, Dodge and Ford. The only 3 trucks worth owning. I love this current F-150 and Ram both. The Chevy still needs work. It's not as nice I don't think.

@Stevadore, that's a pretty neat idea. I've never heard of that before but it does seem plausible. I'd rather do that than give money to the middle east, big monopolistic corporations or the government.

@ stevadore re: Moonshine--Have you actually done this?

No offense but there are more than a few guys on this forum who talk out their ass. Just checking.

I've smoked a few roasts over the years, but I've never used a smoker that could level the entire neighborhood if somebody makes a mistake.

I'm not really ready for some of the half wits I know to starting cooking mash in the same backyards where my grandkids play.

The topic of this article is natural gas, and yes this country sits on a lot of it. We also have enough coal to meet the needs of America's electrical capacity for generations, but Washington is quickly trying to kill that along with a huge economy surrounding the mining, transport and processing of coal.

Question: you can't make steel without coal--how are you going to build factories and make cars/trucks without steel?

This is intended to satisfy an influential minority of voters who claim to care about something they call global warming. They always quote the same weather experts who can't predict rain two weeks off, are telling us that they can predict the earth's temperature in 100 years.

With coal OR with natural gas you can refine methanol. Methanol costs less than $2 per gallon retail if you get Washington out of the way. E85 cars/trucks can burn methanol-gasoline blends just the same as with ethanol.

The government is the problem, not the automotive engineering. Today's gas powered and diesel powered cars are so much cleaner burning than the ones in the past but the green politicians don't care--they want you riding a bike or taking a bus.

Please save your money--don't buy a still, unless you've really got your heart set on it.


At least for the moment, I don't see the price of CNG jumping the way some, here, fear. HOWEVER, that is more due to the fact that CNG is really not that much cheaper per mile than gasoline itself; we already know that mpg on CNG is far lower than gasoline. In other words, you're not going to get that 23mpg on that fancy EcoBoost engine or that big 5.7L V8's 21mpg with CNG.

Not worth messing with, fleets yes, the average guy no.

@PapaJim, touché on many parts there. We probably won't need steel to build trucks and cars soon though. They're already made out of pop can thick metal. Might as well go to plastic. Gotta love Obama, Pelosi and the rest of the Libs. Too bad GM just can't satisfy the guy with their GM Sierra/Acadia/Yukon/Savana line and be done with it. Then the government can say here ya go consumers and let the public decide if they want to support it or not. Leave the rest of the companies alone. I don't know what more they want. They have their puppet auto brand.

Natural Gas is a real clean gas..These Flat Earther Global Warmer types should love it,as it is clean and green ,more so than electric veihicles and wind power for homes ! But for some odd reason these clueless so-called environmentalists dont like N.G !

Fracturing for Natural Gas is safe,we have been doing it for OVER 60 YEARS,and not one issue,no problems with water,no global warmist idiotic problems happened !!

We had Natural Gas powered vehicles in the late 80's-early 90's,gas stations had pump to fuel up,but the conversion price was expensive and back then the power loss and lower mpg turned people off,but looks like they solved the performance/mpg issue today !!Also, today you cant find a N.G fueling station.But here on the West Coast just about every home has Natural Gas,so you can fuel at home,and I am sure they would put back those pumps at the stations if it caught on..

We waste money on Electric/Hybrids and our answer is Natural Gas,but I dont have a problem with regular gas we have now,as there is no problem,just a man made b.s scare tactic that the people who want to live like the year 1650 always start up !

Remember,do a burnout daily ..It's good for the environment !! I did 4 1/2 today already,whats your excuse ?

Distillation is chemistry, not B.S. It is proven methodology for hundreds of years with a few improvements in still design. It is the process that the manufactures of Ethanol use every day. Our Ancestors used home brewing to bi-pass liquor taxes imposed to pay the debt from the Civil War.

I did state; mechanical skill is necessary for success. It requires a permit for a reason. Do not endanger yourself or others.

If you call in help for mundane repairs, you can't do this.

With Ford being the leader in Fire recalls. I personally was a victim of one of Fords multi million fire recalls. Ford vehicles spontaneously combusting hours after they are parked. Ford should be the last manufacture to build such a deadly and dangerous device. Has anyone seen what happens when a natural gas tank explodes?(not good) This would be a bomb waiting to go off. Honda has some experience with this.

http://www.mvfri.org/Presentations/HansenCNGAutoFire.pdf

@stevador. So, you answered my question with a non answer-- so I ask you again.

Have you ever done it?

I don't mean high school chem class--have you ever brewed enough fuel grade alcohol to make a dent in your annual fuel bills?

Papa J> My answer was by design. I have the feeling you wont believe me if I say yes.
But then, I don't encourage anyone to believe what someone says on any message board.

My response was ment to encourage those that feel qualified, to do their own research before commiting to this involved process. (Yes, more than an hour long Chem. Lab) They will be giving up several days a month when there is no leaving the project until fruition. If this was a Cakewalk, EXXON would have to change it's business model.

Not everyone's situation makes it worthwhile. Most people with a full time job are better off paying for gasoline than giving up personal time to do more work.
I'm self-employed and am allowed a minimum SE tax deduction for truck expenses based on the cost of gasoline, etc. I pocket the difference, avoid most gas taxes and spend less than $8 at the pump per fill-up. To me, it is worth the 4 days a month I need to hang around the house to monitor the thermometer. Some time is needed for mixing and cleaning but it doesn't require babysitting like the still.

To quote wise advice:
Please save your money--don't buy a still, unless you've really got your heart set on it.

There will be infrastructure soon. There is a big push going on in my province of BC to build infrastructure to extract and ship CNG. Most of that is to tap into Asian markets put the spin off benefit is that there will be CNG available for domestic use as well.

Sorry guys, but all this talk about homebrew and natural gas conversions makes my head spin.

Why replace the current system? managing global C02? Please! OPEC? Fuel prices?

Today China is building the biggest coal-to-liquid fuel plant in the world. Just like the US, they have enough low grade coal to make methanol for decades. It readily can be blended with regular gas to produce a superior motor fuel capable of being delivered in the same tankers we now use to ship E10, E15 and E85.

Who's blocking the methanol fuels in the US? EPA. Why? Because it competes with the corn-based fuels and powerful midwestern Senators can't abide it.

Replacing the diesel and gasoline infrastructure would take decades, and huge cost--and for what?

Methanol/gasoline blends have max octane, are clean burning, can be produced from the same raw materials and can be used in E10, E15, E85 cars and trucks already on the road.

@stevadore--are you making more than 1000 gallons of fuel grade alcohol annually? If not, it's just a hobby.

Do you know what it takes to safely blend fuels so that the lighter components don't separate in the fuel tank? If the fuel separates the alcohol rises to the top of the tank and your fuel system can't handle straight alky.

@papa jim
You are spot on with your assessment.

I have read that the average corn farmer in the US is recieving between $125 000 - $250 000 per farm per year subsidy.

Even in the 60s my grandfather who lived in Upstate New York used to get money from the government not to grow corn.

Earlier this year the US bought millions of barrels of ethanol from Brazil at $262 per barrel. Because the EPA has a regulation stating the amount of alcohol is to be used in fuel.

I see if I can find the link for this and post it.

CNG should be used for domestic and industrial STATIONARY equipment and not oil. Oil is denser and should be kept for transportation.

The accumulators to store CNG at the required pressures so you can have a reasonable amount of energy between fills is extremely expensive. The cylinders are worth thousands of dollars.

@Big AL actually it's only the politically well connected farmers who receive the subsidies.

The US Dept of Agriculture issues permits that allow farmers of peanuts, tobacco, corn, sugar cane, dairy, etc., to enjoy a competitive advantage versus non-permitted farmers.

The unfortunate majority can grow and sell all they want, provided it's sold to offshore commodities brokers. Sadly, that's old news. Been that way for decades.

The real villain in the bio fuel discussion is the EPA. Presently the EPA mandates that refineries can blend and produce as much methanol as they want, but they cannot sell it for motor fuel (apart from the small market for racing fuels and industrial chemicals).

The hierarchy at EPA is very entrenched and will not be budged, even when the national security is at stake. EPA and DoD presently require American military vessels to use bio fuels even if it costs more.

If the American voting public really knew how much this foolishness was costing our communities and families they'd take this crew at EPA out back and whip 'em.

@papa jim
Have a read of this article from Yale University. An eye opener for US taxpayers. Between the chicken tax and all of the other barriers.

The US tax payer is subsidising ethanol grown in the US for double the price in Brazil. Geez, our government is probably just as bad or worse.

.....................................................................................................................................................................

Then there are direct biofuel production subsidies, which raise feedstock prices for farmers by increasing the price of corn. In the U.S., blenders are paid a 45 cent-per-gallon “blender’s tax credit” for ethanol — the equivalent of more than $200 per acre to divert scarce corn from the food supply into fuel tanks. The federal government also pays a $1 credit for plant-based biodiesel and “cellulosic” ethanol.

Finally, there is a 54 cent-per-gallon tariff on imported biofuel to protect domestic production from competition, especially to prevent Brazilian sugarcane-based ethanol (which can be produced at less than half the cost of U.S. ethanol from corn) from entering U.S. markets. These subsidies allow ethanol producers to pay higher and higher prices for feedstocks, illustrated by the record 2008 levels of corn, soybean, and wheat prices. Projections suggest they will remain higher, assuming normal weather and yields.


http://e360.yale.edu/feature/the_case_against_biofuels_probing_ethanols_hidden_costs/2251/

@Big AL, what if you're a politically well connect Brazilian producer who also owns major production assets in the US?

Then you can play both sides of the global market--maybe even have your favorite US Senator lobbying for a "waiver..."

Then when your Senator retires, he can go to work for a major lobbyist and provide "consulting services."

There is a reason that people spend $20 or 30 million to run for an open US Senate seat, or they go to jail trying like former Illinois Gov. Blagojevich...

@papa jim - politicians have a way of manipulating the system to benefit them or their masters. The wealthy 1% work for the super-rich 0.1%.
Sucks to be us.

Papa J> Hobbies cost money and are fun.
This saves money and is work.
I hope your hobbies aren't a chore.

As far as Phase Separation? The answer is in my first post.

@stevadore-- I'll try again: Are you making more than 1000 gallons of fuel grade alcohol annually? If not, it's just a hobby.

You seem to have gone off-topic Papa J.
This isn't about me.
I haven't gotten personal with you, yet you persist.
Let me spell it out for you:
I am not going to submit to your hostile interrogation style trick questions and innuendo.

@Stevador sounds a lot like a hobby...

We have two CNG filling stations within 15 miles of my house, and more in the
Pittsburgh Area. The infrastructure is being built.

@Jerry A question: How much are you (and your children) willing to pay to build that infrastructure? There is a real cost involved. It is the reason it was not done 20 years ago.

The EPA is so full of hard liners, they will not rest until we're all using mass transit and riding bicycles. Don't doubt me on this.

Hey, burn all of the natural gas you can and also build many aluminium F-150s as you can :-)

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-10-14/macfarlane-lng-exports/5014018?section=business

Papa j> There is no shame in hard work.

Call me an amateur all you want PJ. I never claimed to be a professional producer.

I certainly wouldn't encourage someone to violate their permit for personal use, nor would I tell someone to store excess product that has a limited shelf-life, then put that product in their engine! Do your homework folks. It's not hard.

If you feel the urge to insult others that you don't know, try to appear to have the knowledge to do so.

Do me a favor PJ:
Record what you tell your Grandkids when they ask:
"What's that rainbow floating on top of the water Gramps?"
and post it for the rest of us will you? I always enjoy a good laugh!

Talking out their ass alert: Water and alcohol DO NOT float
atop gasoline. Physics 101.

I really tried not to violate the protocol of this message board but no one seems to care.

I defend myself when necessary.

@stevador You sound pathetic.

You begin running your mouth about distilling pure alcohol in large quantities, as if you actually have done it. When confronted with some basic concerns about the veracity of your boasts, you resort to name calling.

I only asked you to back-up what your post proclaimed. You got your back up instead.

Anyone who can read your posts going back to Oct 12 can see how you run from your own statements.

Moonshine?

Papa j> That clears up everything. It seems you were just having comprehension issues.

You need to read my post as written. I referred to the permit limitations. I never suggested I brewed the maximum 10K gal.per yr. that it allows. How would that reconcile with my 4 distill days a month goal? Seriously, I'm not sure how you assumed all that from an FYI statement about the permit.

I was quite civil in my responses and requested you do the same but you kept up your implications that I was not creditable, a wana-be or worse with your repeat veiled insult "hobbyist" remark. If you continue to belittle somebody that works hard for something, one thing you can count on; they will bow up.

How do you suggest I "back up my statements"? Frankly, I do not feel the need to justify myself to passive/aggressive personalities.

Meanwhile; I don't see you backing up your "alcohol rises to the top of the tank" statement. You wrote it for all to see. Don't run from your assertions. Man up or hide from the facts.

Point being, you had an opportunity to learn something here but chose instead to be adversarial and learned nothing.

Has anybody besides Mr Stevador ever brewed fuel grade alcohol in quantities sufficient to substitute for the cost of distilling gear, grain, potable water, fuel to cook the mash and secure vessels to capture the refined product.

Has anyone who looks at these posts ever blended their own motor fuels (beyond adding a 8 oz can of fuel additive to the gas tank). Mr Stevador is not familiar with the notion that fuel ingredients can separate in storage--has anyone else got experience they can share on this topic?

I had hoped that Mr S. could share something about this from first-hand experience but he's gotten pretty riled over being asked about it.

@stevador You suggested in your first post that we can pour moonshine in the tank with a little unleaded regular and have a home-grown low cost motor fuel.

There are a couple of reasons this is a VERY bad idea.

1. Fuel alcohol needs to be dry; ZERO water
2. Dry alcohol is called 200 proof

Any amount of water entering your gas tank will ultimately result in bent connecting rods, blown head gaskets. A motor wiped out.

Your post implied that you can cook the remaining water out of the moonshine.

This is VERY wrong. 180 proof is about as dry as you can make it with a burner and boiler.

Even at 180 proof it still contains about 10 percent water at that point and will not only wreck your engine, but it exposes your plan to another very serious risk. Any attempt to “cook” it drier than that will probably blow the roof off your house or barn.

Commercial operations that produce 200 proof alky are using chemistry, not distilling.

Go to the web for more info, but whatever you do be safe about it.

Glad to see your doing some research.
You can re-distill moonshine down to 190-195 proof by using a reflux column. I mentioned the Phase Separation reaction between alcohol and water, in gasoline. Alcohol is a Hydro-attractant that bonds to water molecules and will settle to the bottom (not top) of the fuel tank. Bad for combustion engines.
The water is "dried" away after distilling by adding Acetone or Benzene to the non fuel grade alcohol or stout "moonshine". Correct, Chemistry.


Anything can be dangerous if the homework is not done first.
"Be sure you're right, then go ahead" Davy Crocket.

My moonshine reference was comic in nature. There is nothing humorous in a bumper sticker about Ethanol, E85. etc.

So, you agree. This is not something for the vast majority of people to pursue privately without the proper resources. Not a back yard activity, not a solution for the nation's fuel economy needs.

Not a responsible thing to be promoting on a blog? Not relevant to a discussion of natural gas equipped vehicles?

In all of your posts on this you have demonstrated some knowledge of the topic, but have made some goofy remarks like "topping it off with" moonshine, etc. Brewing 10000 gallons per year in a home built still?

Comprehension issues continue.
Could be early signs of Alzheimer's.

AND YOU STILL HAVE NOT ADMITTED! Just tell us how many gallons of your dry alcohol your rig is producing annually.

It is a hobby, isn't? It has never been a profitable enterprise, has it?

You were really just blowing a little smoke out the old who-hah weren't you? That was my first guess, Stevador.



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