Automotive News

Ford to Roll With Natural Gas for F-150 Pickup

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Re: What's not to like?
ratkinsonjr   8/12/2013 2:20:09 PM
On the plus side, this could provide the incentive to expand the distribution network for LPG/CNG, making the fuel more widely available. This in turn, would provide more incentives for drivers to switch to these alternative fuels, in a positive economic feedback loop. This would also provide more options for alternative powerplants, such as LPG/CNG fuel cell vehicles, eliminating the inefficiencies in burning the fuel in an IC engine. Finally, this could provide a transition step to a pure hydrogen fuel technology and fueling infrastructure, leveraging experience with the existing gaseous fuels.

The down side is that LPG/CNG still need large and heavy tanks that sacrifice trunk space and reduce range compared with gasoline or diesel fueled vehicles, especially when configured for dual-fuel use, since you need to find space for both the gasoline and LPG/CNG tanks. I would also have a concern with the explosion potential of gaseous fuels in an accident. This may be a non-issue from a technical standpoint, but these fuels have an image problem in the public perception that must be overcome (can you say Hindenburg?). Even though the Hindenburg used hydrogen instead of LPG/CNG, the occasional gas grill or house explosion from gas leaks continues to fuel public concern about these fuels (pun intended). Take the the security concerns that cause the port closures that occur when LNG tankers dock in a major port like Boston and multiply it by the number of CNG/LPG filling stations nationwide in a post 9/11 environment, and you can begin to see the image problem this fuel has.

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Re: What's not to like?
Leigh   8/8/2013 6:29:08 PM
Australia has had extensive an extensive LPG network since the 70's. Almost 100% of service stations have LPG refueling. It is extenisvely used by taxis & city busses as the fuel half the cost of petrol/diesel. It never gained widespread acceptance with the general public as pressurised LPG tank takes up a lot of room. In busses they put the tanks on the roof, and in cars in the trunk.

Charles Murray
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Re: What's not to like?
Charles Murray   8/7/2013 8:14:24 PM
I agree, naperlou. Fleet customers, who typically log more miles than the rest of us, should like this. Ford has estimated that fleet customers can justify the initial $9,000 in extra costs in 24-36 months.

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What's not to like?
naperlou   8/7/2013 10:07:15 AM
Chuck, as you say at the end of the article, natural gas is cheap, clean and an American fuel.  Gas powered vehicles are making headway in fleets because they often have their own fueling stations.  For example, a local concrete contractor in my area is moving to an all natural gas powered fleet.  With bi-fuel you do get rid of the range anxiety, which in many cases is real.  I notice it whenever I am on a long distance trip in more remote areas.  At least with gasoline, I can get a quick resolution without any special equipment.

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