Ford Motor Co. plans to offer a compressed natural gas (CNG) and propane-ready gaseous prep package for its 5.0-liter V8 engine slated for the 2016 model F-150 pickup truck this summer.

“In the past we offered this gaseous prep package only on our 3.7-liter V6 engine,” Dick Cupka, Ford’s commercial vehicle sustainability leader, told Fleet Owner.

“But when we surveyed customers likely to use natural gas or propane, 72% told us they want to have such alternative-fuel capabilities with a 5.0-liter V8 engine,” he said. “Given the option, they wanted the bigger V8 for more towing and performance.”

Ford’s factory-installed gaseous-fuel prep package includes upgraded intake and exhaust valves, among other enhancements, and costs $315 before a qualified vehicle modifier adds in fuel supply tanks, fuel lines and unique fuel injectors.

The OEM noted such alternative fuel upfitting for its pickups and other light vehicles such as vans costs approximately $7,500 to $9,500 depending on fuel tank capacity when all is said and done.

The company emphasized that 2016 model F-150 trucks running on CNG or propane will be able to tow the same amount as if they were running on gasoline. Payload capability is also the same as well, minus the weight of the installed CNG or propane system, Ford added.

Cupka also pointed out that the higher grade of components necessary for the gaseous prep package also ends up providing customers with a more “robust” engine, regardless of whether they decide to switch to CNG or propane or just stick with gasoline.

“The higher grade of material provides a higher level of [engine] durability,” he explained. “And whether they switch fuels or not, it provides a good hedge for the future when gasoline prices begin to rise again.”

Cupka also noted that with the addition of the 2016 model F-150, Ford now provides factory-installed fuel prep package on eight of its commercial vehicles, including:

  • The F-250 and F-350 Super Duty pickup
  • The F-450 and F-550 Super Duty chassis cab
  • The F-650 and F-750 chassis cab
  • The F-53 and F-59 stripped chassis
  • The Transit Connect van and wagon
  • The Transit van, wagon, cutaway and chassis cab
  • The E-Series cutaway and stripped chassis

Ford noted full upfit packages top out at $13,000 for its larger vehicles. The OEM also said it will provide a limited five years or 60,000 miles engine and powertrain warranty on vehicles equipped with its gaseous prep package, with the vehicle modifier responsible for the system component warranty.

Cupka added that Ford has sold 57,000 CNG/propane-prepped vehicles to date since 2009.

In 2014, Ford said it sold a record 16,821 commercial vehicles with CNG/propane gaseous engine-prep packages, with 2015 shaping up to be an even stronger year.

Cupka pointed out that the most popular vehicles for CNG/propane prep packages are its F-Series Super Duty trucks, while prep kits for the 2014 F-150 exceeded expectations by more than 40%.

Ford also estimates as many as 70% of its vehicles purchased with CNG/propane packages are upfitted before customers take delivery and another 20% are upfitted within a year of purchase.