West Port Light Duty will begin producing b-fuel Ford F-250 and F-350 Super Duty pickup trucks in May, the company said at the NTEA Work Truck Show in Indianapolis. The trucks are produced in a facility adjacent to Ford’s truck plant in Louisville, Ky., and never leave Ford’s inventory control system and are not subject to re-entry fees or other charges typically associated with upfitting commercial vehicles, said John Howell, senior marketing director.
Howell said Westport LD’s goal is to provide users with a key-ready experience. “When they take delivery of these vehicles and turn the key, we don’t what them to feel any difference than if they were sitting in a conventional Ford Super Duty truck,” he said. “That holds true for the whole ownership experience in terms of maintenance and warranty. It will be transparent compared to a gasoline-powered Ford Super Duty.”
Westport LD’s Super Duty models have a range from 200 to 350 miles when operating on compressed natural gas, depending on tank size. Overall vehicle range extends to more than 600 miles when the 32-gallon gasoline tank is factored into the equation.
“There is no button allowing drivers to select between CNG and gasoline,” Howell said. “Our research told us fleets prefer to have these trucks running on CNG as much as possible. So these Super Duty trucks will run on natural gas as long as it is present in the tank.” When the CNG tank runs out, the engine immediately and seamlessly switches to gasoline. Once the CNG is refilled, the truck reverts to natural gas the next time the truck is started.
The bi-fuel Super Duty trucks are designed to meet both U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and California Air Resources Board standards and feature a 6.2-liter V-8 engine with hardened valves and seats. Virtually every Super Duty pickup configuration can be upfitted to a bi-fuel version, including 6.75- and 8-foot box lengths and 4×2 and 4×4 powertrain configurations.
Howell said Westport LD Super Duty trucks will retail for $9,750 over the base Super Duty sticker price, with an optional 24-gallon gasoline or gasoline-equivalent tank available for an additional $1,200. Trucks will begin rolling off the assembly line during a slow ramp-up to full production in July.