Ford Motor Company executive says the automaker’s new natural gas-powered F-150 could make big waves in the truck market.
by Rick Waters '95
Jon Coleman, sustainability and technology chief at Ford Motor Co., discussed the automaker's new natural gas-powered F-150 in October.
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by Rick Waters '95
The TCU Energy Institute launched the inaugural Kenneth W. Davis, Jr. Leaders in Energy Speaker Series in October with some good ol’ fashioned American muscle. The institute welcomed Ford Motor Co. sustainability and technology chief Jon Coleman to speak about the automaker’s new natural gas-powered F-150.
The F-150 is Ford’s most popular model. Why make a version that runs on natural gas? Think about a vehicle stopped at a traffic light, idling with the exhaust puffing out the back. Natural gas is the same fuel you use to cook a pot of spaghetti on the stove. Doesn’t that make more sense? Natural gas is abundant, it’s affordable and American-produced.
Ford believes it has appeal for everyday drivers? Sure. Yes, there are upfront costs, and we need to make progress in filling station availability, but we’re already seeing the CNG F-150 as the first vehicle that crosses over from commercial to the retail side. CNG sells for $2.11 a gallon. [In the fall], regular unleaded averaged $3.68 per gallon nationally. They pay for themselves. Retail buyers will see something like $2,651 in annual fuel savings. The economics are undeniable.
Does it compromise the F-150’s utility? Not at all. It has a range of 400 miles per fill-up. The tank was designed to take up the same amount of space as a utility chest. I have guys tell me they can still haul lumber in the bed.
Why not electric? Electric works in some models, smaller models. But electric is not always a market-efficient solution. In the Focus, the battery takes up 23 liters of space. That’s roughly four kegs of beer. In an F-150, the battery would literally weigh a ton.
Might we see technology make it smaller? Students at TCU will be the people, four, eight or 15 years from now, redefining what this industry means.
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