Ford Motor Co. brought a dump truck version of F-650 medium-duty truck to the 2013 ATD show in Orlando. This vehicle came equipped with a dedicated compressed natural gas (CNG) system, and Ford’s Todd Kaufman, marketing manager for the company, explained what makes both the gasoline and CNG variants of this vehicle stand out in the medium-duty segment and how this particular project came to be. The F-650 gasoline chassis cab can be configured in GVWRs that range from 20,500 all the way up to 30,000 lbs. – with a GCWR up to 33,000 lbs.
Kaufman explained that Ford partnered with DTE Energy, an electric and natural gas utility company, on this project. He said DTE has ordered a number of these vehicles and will likely order more.
The F-650 at ATD was equipped with a dump body provided by Truck Tech Engineers Inc. and a dedicated CNG fuel system. National Fleet Services handled the CNG conversion process. The CNG upfit cost between $16,000 and $17,000, according to Kaufman. The gasoline engine for the F-650 comes with a gaseous prep package that has hardened valves and valve seats, making the vehicle compatible with compressed natural gas or propane fueling system. The prep package made the F-650 at the show a fit for the dedicated CNG system and for DTE Energy. The vehicle is equipped with 3 15-gallon tanks, providing a total of 45 gasoline gallon equivalents.
Although CNG is a great option, Kaufman noted the gasoline engine-equipped F-650 offers a number of benefits to fleets. He explained Ford has been offering a gasoline engine option for its F-650 since the 2012 model-year and that this engine is a segment exclusive. The engine is a gasoline 6.8L V-10 that provides 362 hp and 457 lb. ft. of torque. One of the benefits of this engine in this vehicle is due to the overall drivetrain configuration.
“You can start with very heavy loads even though you’re running with a gasoline powertrain and it gets great fuel economy because it’s has a six-speed double overdrive automatic transmission,” Kaufman explained.
Noting the pressure that many municipalities are under today, Kaufman said the gasoline engine option costs less than the equivalent diesel model, making it more affordable. The gasoline option is $9,441 MSRP less than the equivalent diesel model. The F-650 also comes standard with a five-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty.
“Some folks will say, ‘Well, my diesel gets better fuel economy,”’ explained Kaufman. “This truck is within 9 or 10 percent of the fuel economy of an equivalent diesel. The maintenance costs for a gasoline engine is half that of diesel. So they save money on maintenance costs, the initial purchase price is half, and it has all the capabilities of a diesel equivalent.”
Kaufman noted that this is a new, efficient engine that Ford has experience building, making this technology proven but advanced.
“We’re very confident in this engine and transmission,” Kaufman said. “We’ve been building hundreds of thousands of this engine since 2005. It’s an ultra-efficient, highly modern gasoline engine. It’s here for the long run.”
By Greg Basich and Greg Arroyo