Ford Offers Fleets More CNG and Propane Options

DEARBORN, MI — Ford will make it easier for fleet managers to incorporate alternative fuel engines into their lineups, the automaker said this week.

Later this year, Ford will begin selling 6.8-liter F-450 and F-550 Super Duty chassis cabs that are conversion-ready for compressed natural gas (CNG) and propane (LPG). The CNG and LNG engine prep packages include hardened exhaust valves and valve seats that can withstand the gaseous fuel systems.

"Compressed natural gas and propane offer more than sufficient power for vehicles because they are high-energy fuels," Rob Stevens, Ford's commercial vehicle chief engineer, said in a statement. "Other natural benefits for these fuels are overall lower emissions of greenhouse gases compared to gasoline and lower fuel/operating costs for their fleet."

CNG produces about 25 percent fewer carbon dioxide emissions than gasoline, according to the U.S. Department of Energy, while propane may emit as much as 40 percent less CO2.

Ford's E-Series is already available with the CNG/LNG prep packages, with more than 3,000 conversion-ready E-Series vans shipped since November. CNG and LNG conversion-ready F-50 commercial strip chassis, F-53 motor home chassis, and 2011 Transit Connects will be available this year. Ford will also begin selling all-electric Transit Connect commercial fleet vans in late 2010.

On Tuesday, a Southern California taxi service said it has ordered 25 Ford Transit Connect Taxi's with CNG prep packages.

"California Yellow Cab started to use natural gas in 2002 before there were many refueling stations," said Tim Conlon, the company's president. "Now that the infrastructure has built up, we'll be able to help protect Orange County's air quality even more with the Transit Connect. It's a perfect fit for our drivers, and its roomy, easy-to-access interior will appeal to our customers as well."