KANSAS CITY — The first 2016 Ford F-150 pickup capable of running on compressed natural gas (CNG) or propane has rolled off the assembly line.
Ford says that makes it the only manufacturer to offer a half-ton pickup powered by the clean-burning fuel.
GM offers a similar bi-fuel option on its Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra models, but only in their heavy-duty versions. Competitors like the Nissan Titan and Ram 1500 can be ordered with diesel engines but don't offer a CNG alternative.
The 2016 F-150 with a 5.0-liter V8 engine is available with a factory-installed bi-fuel prep package that includes hardened valves, valve seats, pistons and rings so it can operate on CNG, propane or gasoline using separate fuel systems.
The factory prep package costs $315, but then the customer has to choose a Ford Qualified Vehicle Modifier to install fuel tanks, lines and special injectors. Altogether buyers can expect to pay $6,000 to $9,500, depending on desired fuel-tank capacity.
Ford says that with the CNG/propane package the F-150 can travel more than 750 miles on its combined fuel tanks, depending on tank size, and can achieve an EPA-rated 22 mpg on the highway.
"It's exciting to see the first F-150s with the CNG/propane-prepped 5.0-liter V8 headed to customers," said Jon Coleman, Ford fleet sustainability and technology manager, in a statement. "Whether running on gasoline, gaseous fuel or both, the 5.0-liter V8 F-150 offers hardworking customers terrific towing and payload and now, the ability to operate on alternative fuel."
CNG and propane power are most popular with fleet customers, who are looking for maximum efficiency in vehicles that accumulate a lot of miles.
About 85 percent of the CNG used in the U.S. is produced domestically, as is around 90 percent of the propane, making for a stable, reliable supply of fuel. CNG can also reduce tailpipe emissions by approximately 20 percent compared to gasoline.
In addition to the F-150, Ford produces a number of other bi-fuel models, including the F-250 and F-350 Super Duty pickups, F-350 and F-550 Super Duty chassis cabs, F-650 and F-750 chassis cabs, the Transit Connect van and wagon, and the E-Series cutaway and stripped chassis.
Edmunds says: The CNG/propane option for the 2016 Ford F-150 should meet the needs of fleet customers and other buyers in the market for a clean-burning vehicle.