To take advantage of the resurgence in truck demand, Ford is set to offer customers a version of their F-150 pick-up that runs on compressed natural gas.
Ford will look to introduce the gas-powered F-150 in 2014, as the firm look to offer something different to that of fierce rivals General Motors Co and Fiat spA’s Chrysler Group.
Demand for trucks in the US is growing quickly thanks to the strength of the housing and oil industries. Sales in the US for full-size pick-ups are increasing almost three times the pace of the overall industry.
The growing emergence of fracking and the benefits of natural gas as an alternative to conventional fuels make a gas-powered pick-up an attractive prospect; although, an under abundance of gas-specific refuelling stations is a concern.
Also, the price of an F-150 with a 3.7-litre V6 engine possible of running off both natural gas and petrol can cost nearly $10,000 extra in the US, depending upon the fuel-tank capacity.
“With the money saved using CNG, customers could start to see payback on their investment in as little as 24 to 36 months,” said Jon Coleman, Ford fleet sustainability and technology manager.
Ford says the average cost of CNG is $2.11 per gallon of petrol equivalent, whilst the national average in the US for unleaded is $3.66 per gallon.
The American manufacturer insist it is “on pace” to sell more than 15,000 CNG-equipped vehicles, with the F-150 set to become the eighth in Ford’s line-up to have such a capacity. Communications firm AT&T recently bought 650 of Ford’s F-350 trucks that were fitted with the CNG option.
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