Ford's gaseous-prep V-10 engine for its redesigned 2016 F-650 and F-750 trucks offers a forward-thinking option that will open up new fleet markets, vehicle modifiers told AutomotiveFleet.com.
Ford revealed the factory-prepped gas engine option today at the Work Truck Show in Indianapolis. Fleet buyers could purchase the medium-duty trucks with either a standard 6.7L V-8 diesel or a 6.8L V-10 gasoline engine. Additionally, Ford will offer a version of the V-10 that's prepped for conversion to compressed natural gas or propane autogas.
The vehicle opens up a new fleet market for vehicle modifiers including Westport Innovations and ROUSH CleanTech in Class 6 and Class 7, said Mark Aubry, vice president of sales and marketing, Americas.
"The medium-duty market is one that is virtually untapped from a natural gas standpoint," Aubry told AutomotiveFleet.com. "It is a market where a number of fleet operators have the best opportunity for return on investment."
Aubry said the vehicle offers a variety of fleet applications, especially for towing fleets, and a large enough chassis to add sufficient CNG fueling tanks and other fueling infrastructure along the frame rails.
Westport will initially offer a dedicated CNG vehicle and is considering a bi-fuel vehicle, Aubry said.
The gaseous-prep vehicle was also greeted with excitement at ROUSH CleanTech for use as a propane autogas vehicle.
"Ford continues to listen to the needs of fleet customers and be the leader in offering gaseous fuel options in their commercial vehicles," said Todd Mouw, vice president of sales and marketing for ROUSH CleanTech. "Ford's introduction of the gasoline powered F-750 with a gaseous prep package for propane and CNG will open up several significant markets for our propane autogas products."
Commercial fleets in industries such as propane fuel distributors, beverage delivery, tree care and logistics have expressed interest in a propane autogas version of the vehicle, Mouw said.
The new trucks will be available in the spring of 2015.
By Paul Clinton