November 2012, TruckingInfo.com - Feature
Westport LD, part of Westport Innovations that makes heavy-duty engines larger trucks, is partnering with Ford in a bi-fuel system for SuperDuty F-250 and F-350 pickups.
WiNG, for Westport Natural Gas, comprises CNG components added to freshly built Fords with specially prepped 6.2-liter V-8s. A WiNG engine will run primarily on CNG and switch to gasoline if the gas tank is empty. It will start on gasoline or CNG.
The WiNGed trucks will come with Regular, Super and SuperCrew cabs, with short or long pickup beds, and with two- or four-wheel drive. Other configurations might be added later, Ford says. The CNG tank is in a cabinet behind the cab, and the gasoline tank is below the bed, as usual. Westport says the CNG system's weight is 200 pounds with the tank empty.
WiNG's incremental price is $9,750, with a 32-gallon gasoline tank and a 14.4-gasoline-gallon-equivalent CNG tank. A 24-GGE tank is available for another $1,200. Fleet purchases will be less. Using both fuels, range will be as much as 630 miles, executives said.
Starting this May, Westport will add the CNG equipment in a facility next to Ford's Kentucky Truck Plant east of Louisville. Production will ramp up gradually, and sales will be handled through certain Ford truck dealers, perhaps as many as 200, willing to train technicians to service and repair the bi-fuel trucks.
All parts will be stocked in one distribution center and overnighted to any dealer that needs them for repairs. This means any crippled truck will wait at least one night for the part to come in, and probably all weekend if a truck goes down on a Friday, not because the dealer didn't happen to have a part in stock but because that part will always be sitting in a distant warehouse. If customers complain, this approach might be changed, Westport says.