NatGasCar Announces CNG Conversion Kit for Ram 1500 and Dodge Dakota

NatGasCar Announces CNG Conversion Kit for Ram 1500 and Dodge Dakota

We’re still years away from seeing electric-powered, zero-emissions pickup trucks towing and hauling across the U.S., but if you’re looking to clean up what’s coming from your tailpipe while reducing dependence on foreign oil, NatGasCar has a new compressed-natural-gas conversion kit for 2009-11 Ram 1500 half-tons with 4.7-liter V-8 engines.

NatGasCar recently received approval from the EPA to start sales of its CNG kits. The Ram 1500 is the first truck for which the kit is available, in either dedicated CNG or bi-fuel gasoline-CNG configurations. The conversion kit will also work with the 2010-11 Dodge Dakota with the same engine.

“We starting with the 4.7,” said John Webster, NatGasCar’s spokesman. “It’s a popular engine with fleet [buyers].”

Compressed natural gas is an odorless and colorless gas that consists mostly of methane. CNG burns almost completely during combustion and also emits less carbon dioxide and nitrogen oxides while returning slightly better mileage than gasoline. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the U.S. has abundant natural gas reserves. As of 2009, there were 255 trillion cubic feet of natural gas reserves still in the ground.

Photo: Brian Williams for Brenda Priddy & Company

Despite CNG’s huge untapped reserves, distribution and refueling points are limited in the U.S. Fleet operators, like municipalities and large businesses, are likely to have CNG refueling facilities, though CNG has moderate public availability in some states, like in Utah and Oklahoma.

To solve CNG’s distribution challenges, NatGasCar is also working on a home refueling appliance for private consumers, called the EcoWise, that it hopes to sell by the end of 2011.

NatGarCar’s 4.7-liter V-8 conversion kit includes hardened exhaust valves and intake and exhaust valve seats, plus special acoustic and thermal insulating shields that cut down on noise and high temperatures. It also comes with a tank mounted in the cargo box that’s required to store the CNG under high pressure. The company says driving range with the CNG kit is 250 to 325 miles.

“A [CNG] version is also a possibility for the 3.6-liter [Pentastar] V-6,” Webster said. “We are also working on a version for the Ford F-150 with the 5.0-liter V-8.”

The starting price for the conversion packages is $5,400, according to Webster. It comes with a five-year, 120,000 mile warranty, according to NatGasCar's website.

Photo: Brian Williams for Brenda Priddy & Company

Other companies, like Roush, previously have offered liquid propane injection systems similar to CNG. Roush performed all of the testing on NatGasCar’s system, according to Webster.

[Source: NatGasCar]


make mine a quad cab 4x4 with a 8 foot bed

The moment I looked at the picture with the tank the thought of having something from the box hit the small pipes on the left hand side came to mind. Hopefully there'll more protection for that area in the final product?

Didn't Ford offer a CNG truck a few years back? or maybe propane?
I surprised we don't see more of this kind of thing.

I love it how the US is so far behind in certain things, in Europe we were doing this like 20 years ago....

Edit to last post: I have to say though that CNG was like one quarter the price of regular unleaded.


It might be because more people in the U.S. are performance minded, than people from Europe, when it comes down to automobiles? Europeans favor small (sensible) economy cars. People from the New World (U.S.A.) favor big, powerful, performance (not so sensible) automobiles.

@woodpud- a $5500 conversion just hasn't made sense in the past- and is still questionable, as for getting your money's wirth.


Good for Europe! We like to go fast, mind you.

So what kind of MPG equilvalant does it get?

Id like to know wat the current price of natural gas is if I were to buy it from a distributor? If it ends up being the same prce as for gasoiline then there would be no point in buying this conversion.

@ Fatass - the story said slightly better than gas but from what I recall - it is usually much worse than gasoline but is offset by the lower cost. There used to be a break even point, but that was many years ago. I do not know of anybody running propane or CNG right now.
There also needs to be a slightly different setup for cold climates as the vehicle will not start with a system designed for SoCal for example. (Unless they build them differently now-a-days.)

@woopud, LPG, Not CNG is big here in Australia for Utes and Cars. Both Holden and Ford will be introducing Liquid petroleum Injection. In other words a Liguid instead of gas as it is now directly into the cylinder. This means LPG vehicles do not lose anypower when changing from petrol to gas. LPG used on small diesels is a form of chemical supercharging.
@Buy American, it is the other way around, they have "sports" variants of virtually everything over there. They favour economy cars and things that go at warp speed. Get on a unlimited freeway or" A-Road" and you have all sorts of weapons going past you from 130-150 mph.

I would have to say that Europe is into "fast" cars as well. Even many of their econoboxes go like stink.
In NA we equate "fast" with 1/4 mile or straight line stuff.
In Europe it is more focused on handling with speed built in.

Don't confuse CNG fuel economy with E85 fuel economy, which is much less than gasoline, gallon for gallon. GM is seeing approximately +1 mpg in the new CNG-capable full-size vans. The CNG Honda Civic GX is rated at a combined 28 mpg vs. 29 mpg in the conventional gas version.

I am living in the US for the last twelve years now and have no desire to go back to Holland, I love driving my Silverado here which would be impossible in Holland due to very high gasoline prices, insurance and road tax. Roads and parking spaces aren't big enough either. LOL Road tax is wacky there, the bigger (heavier) the vehicle the more you pay and for driving a diesel you pay more in road tax then gasoline and for cng it's even more!

That is a smokin deal. Encana (a natural gas company with a fleet of GM and Ram trucks) has started equiping some of its half tons with a CNG conversion. A half ton Ram came in for an oil change with a kit installed. The driver said the conversion costs 12k installed. It consisted of a tank for fuel, all the plumming and electrical hardware including a second ECU to run a second set of injectors installed in the intake. Truck starts out gas and when it warms up it switches to CNG. But there are no valve train upgrades involved.

General rule of thumb: CNG is being developed for short distance usage by light commercial vehicles; LNG as a diesel replacement for long haul Heavy trucks;LPG as a petrol(gas) substitute for cars, utes and pickups. As well as the newish LPI system can be used on high performance cars including large displacement V8's. Downside to CNG, LNG and LPG, is more space is needed for the fuel tanks.

Woopud: Please excuse the internet buffs here in the USA, they like to get all "up in arms" on the internet when facts are stated against the USA.

Buy American: Other countries have the technologies like us, otherwise they would not export items to us in record bulk. Here in the port city I live in, we actually IMPORT our Wind Turbines (SUZLON in the company name, think it is based out of India), so much for the "New World". Europe came out with the first car, Karl Benz was the mans know....back in the "Old World" and all :) I would like to know, in this "New World" what does the USA have that Europe doesn't? I am dying to hear this......

The "fast" comments: I suppose my fellow arrogant Americans have never heard of supercars coming from Europe, since Americans "like".... "fast cars" they are the only ones with them I suppose (nevermind Mc claren, Lamborgini, Ferrari, they are not "fast enough" for the typical American)

Americans like to go fast.....that consists of getting in an automobile (preferrably a "fast" pickup truck that wieghs in at 6K pounds and has a gas guzzling V8) and traveling a whopping 75 MPH down the interstate to cross this country state to state while Europeans have fast trains to cross their " US state-sized" countries.

Sounds like this "New World" over here has all of its transportation needs figured out, that is why high priced oil brings our ecoomy to its knees, because that is what "New World" countries do, they are brought down by high priced oil. We don't need any type of alternatives, hell no. Why did this article even end up on this website, we are in the "New World". Sorry guys, the New World comment, or attempt at a "trite connotation" against Europe, was hilarious. I couldn't help myself.

On the article topic, I hope it is worth the 4500 conversion. Sounds like a neat idea is refueling stations were mainstream.

*$5400 USD (typo)

Most of our fleet is made up of lpg trucks, the other ones are diesel just because not everywhere has lpg. I think that and the big tank in the box are the two main reasons for these allternative fuels not taking off more. And cng is even harder to find.

Just an FYI those pictures of the tank are from our EPA test vehicle. The finished vehicle is just that, much more finished. Check for more pictures.

I wish Ford offered an CNG pickup from the factory. CNG is pretty common at gas stations in OKC. It sells for $1.29 for the equivalent of one gallon of gas.

@ Red 4x4 - Bang on statement. Kudos.

@joey Higgins in Australia, Ford do offer a dual fuel conversion of LPG straight from the factory.

Other countries export their products in bulk to the U.S. because of Free Trade. It helped/helps their economy and killed/kills ours. The U.S. does not have the factories/production anymore so now we have no choice but to import it.

Yes, Europe does have some premium sports cars; Ferrari, Lamborghini, Porsche, etc. How much do they cost though? It fascinates me how; Chrysler can produce the Dodge Viper, SRT-8s; Ford can produce the GT, Shelby GT 500, Boss 302; and General Motors can produce the Chevrolet Corvette ZO6, ZR1 & Camaro ZL1 for far less the cost of the European offerings. These American machines can hang with all of these European vehicles for thousands upon thousands of dollars less. Modify any of these American sports cars, with just a few thousand dollars, and they will outperform the $125,000-plus autos.

@Red 4X4 . Good Post. Their Intercity and Intercountry trains are very impressive for speed. Remember the 150mph + speeds of the Thalys (France, Belgium Holland)and the Eurostar. In the UK going back to London from Cardiff ,Wales on a regional intercity train that averaged 100mph.

@Buy American, they do have "bargain basement" very rapid vehicles as well. No Free Trade , did not kill the US economy and it is not because of Free Trade, they export to the US. They need to Export in volume to survive in many cases. They were doing this well before Free Trade became common across the globe.

@ Buy American - US sports cars, and I use the term loosely have a very hard time running with Europes best. A Ford GT probably fared the best but read any Euro test on it and they say it does not handle as well as Euro cars.
The Corvette?
It is often considered a muscle car - ie. fast in a straight line only.
Same goes for the Viper. No one talks about the Viper anymore as it is so outdated.
The other cars you mentioned are muscle cars and will get spanked by a Euro spec front wheel drive sports car.
Handling has always been a shortcoming of NA vehicles.

Wow, this is amazing! Almost 30 posts and no one's taken a shot at Dodge!! Would be nice to see a CNG option on the Dodges. Here in North Dakota theres so damned much natural gas we're having to burn it off at the oil well sites (somewhere around 35 million cubic feet a year). And at the few stations that have the option, the most expensive i've seen is 52 cents in Dickinson.

@ Lou Car and Driver has been running an event called the lightning lap at virginia international raceway for years now. They test some pretty extreme cars. In the top 5 is a Mosler followed by a Viper, another Mosler, then the Corvette ZR1. A Lambo rounded out the top 5. The US car makers can and do build with the best of them.

Jordan L-

Thanks for the back. Amercians can build as good, if not better in many cases, as the rest of the world! American consumers just need to reinvest in American companies so that these companies will have the money to spend on engineering even better products. It is a snowball effect.

@ Jordan L - thanks for the post.
Too many Americans have a narrow, egocentric view of things. The whole thing started out with the comments that Europeans were into econoboxes and Americans were into fast cars.
That is a very narrow view point.
Kinda like saying Canadians live in igloos, commute by dog team, and the only sport is hockey. Eh?
NA is great at building hotrods and muscle cars but not so great at sports or super cars.
There are a few examples ie. Corvette ZR1 or Viper. They are cheeper than the Euro cars but don't really enter into the category of "supercars".
I do think the Viper Coupe looks better than a Vette.
The Ford GT was well recieved internationally.
The Mosler mt900s? What is the price on one of those?? I could not locate a price. Probably will cost you the same as a Lambo.
For you and I - this is an academic discussion because we'd need to win a lottery before we could start looking at these sort of rides. LOL.

@ Lou Hockey is the only sport :) I belive the Mosler is more than the Lambo. I think Fords now discontinued GT would qualify as a supercar. There is also the Saleen S7 and Henessey is now making their own car the Venom GT or something like that. I guess NA is too busy building pickups to engineer more fast cars. If we didn't need to haul and tow so much maybe we could haul a**.

@Jordan L - haulin' a.. is fun.
The fastest thing I ever had was a 1996 YZF1000 sport bike = 165 mph.
I spent a week in Montana after the national 55 mph speed limit was repealed. Day Time speed limit : "Reasonable and Prudent" . What a blast.

@ Lou That would be fun. Fasted I've ever been was about 225 kph in my 85 Mustang GT. All the previous cars listed would get beat by nearly any sport bike for way way less money.

The calculations I've done for the cost of CNG for use in a vehicle for me show that most of it is in the amortization of the initial expense and home fueling unit.

Using my current natural gas and electric rates, the cost of CNG plus the cost of electricity to pump it into your vehicle comes to about $1.50 per GGE (about $1 for CNG and 50 cents for the electricity to pump it). That sounds like a bargain.

But, if you distribute the cost of the conversion and the cost of the home filling pump (I'm going to use round numbers here, say $10k altogether for conversion and pump) over, say 50k miles, 5 years, and using 12 MPG, that adds about $3 to the cost per GGE, bringing the total to $4.50 per GGE. I admit I'm being somewhat pessimistic on the 50k miles and the 12MPG, but I've also ignored the time value of money.

I invite you to make corrections and adjustments to my calculations; I was hoping this would work about better.

CHG is coming fast. Too many companies are evaluating it for short run fleets.

One of the most interesting developments is high-temperature pyrolysis units generating 750 to 800 BTU gas from waste. While not quite pipeline quality, it can be blended to hit the specifications of engines.

The advantage is that the feedstocks for the gas are waste (MSW, non-recyclable plastics and maybe tires) which carry a tip fee. And of course you are generating gas at the point of consumption so you avoid the T&D. The net price of the gas comes in below the current burner tip price in many parts of the country. While not commercial yet, several technologies are headed that way.

Stay tuned. RNG/CNG blend may be in our future.

I really like CNG and wish the vehicles were more readily available. I live in utah and we have filling stations about every half hour off the freeway. I tried to get one, but there was only one truck I could find with 4 wheel drive. The problem is they are priced very high because they are CNG, there is a lot of demand, and they have extremely low miles - making getting financing for them difficult, especially because you normally have to find financing yourself.
Gas is $4, and CNG is $1.50 a "gallon."
The only downside is CNG is not as powerful. Even if you really get on the gas, the vehicle doesn't surge forward, it's slower to respond.

The cab is comfortable and quiet; the new Uconnect navigation system is cool, rendering topography like mountains in faux 3D and displaying realistic curves in the roadway so that you know you’re about to go over a hill.

there is now a fueling station in pensacola ,florida cng the price is 2.05 a gallon the price of gas is 3.79 i am ready to convert! hey and i already own a 2010 dodge dakota!

To conversion of CNG into kits it too difficult so has some advantages and also disadvantages .In advantages point of view i can say that CNG is relatively less expensive than gasoline, CNG is less fewer harmful than other gas, CNG makes the engine run quite ,CNG abundant in the US and In disadvantage view i can say that CNG tank require more space so you have to sacrifice some space and CNG filling stations have limited availability .so whatever i know in US have few filling stations and some places have none at all.

I have a client who is looking for 5 units with the 5.7 V8 Hemi and they want to have itCNG ready with Hardened valves, valve seats and modified intake manifold that will accept CNG fuel lines.
Is this possible?

$5,400 is total rip off. In India and most Asian countries the even a high quality conversion kit does not cost over $800 (including fitting charges), but that if for Petrol vehicles. I never heard one for Diesel engines.

$5,400 is total rip off. In India and most other Asian countries, even a high quality conversion kit does not cost over $800 USD (including fitting charges), but that is for Petrol engines. I never heard one for Diesel engines though.

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