Metropolitan Utilities District to Test CNG F-150s Pickups by BAF

​The Omaha-area Metropolitan Utilities District will help BAF prove out Ford F-150 pickups converted to dedicated-compressed natural gas operation – in expectation that Ford will release a gaseous-prep 3.7-liter engine late next year for 2014 vehicles.

Two dozen F-150 trucks will be delivered to the District with BAF taking warranty responsibility. Like BAF’s other pickups, they will have chassis-mounted CNG tanks, freeing up the entire truck bed for operator use. Type III CNG tanks from Italy’s Faber Industrie will hold 18 GGE-gasoline gallon equivalents.

The 24 CNG F-150s will join a District fleet of more than 100 natural gas vehicles, including 80 Ford E-350 utility vans (by BAF), dedicated-CNG Honda Civic sedans, and seven high-use Freightliner trucks.

The District has ordered three new 4×4 F-250 pickups too – one of which is the 20,000th NGV produced by BAF. District president Dog Clark – the new NGVAmerica chairman – took delivery in Dallas Thursday as BAF celebrated 20 years in the business and opening of its new, 90,000-square foot facility there.

Cabs and a College, and the County

One of the three BAF-converted, dedicated-CNG F-250s will go to the Metropolitan Community College, another Omaha-area NGV pioneer. Thus the District is in the process of ordering a fourth.

To celebrate Earth Day on April 22, the District is offering CNG for just 99.9¢ per GGE at its two fueling stations. The public access stations have ANGI compression units with Gilbarco dispensers and TK-17 pistol-grip nozzles for the benefit of consumers. They opened in mid-2011.

Omaha’s Happy Cab is a partner, operating one of the two Omaha stations and converting Chevrolet Impala sedans to CNG using kits from Impco Automotive (formerly NaturalDrive; F&F, October 25, 2010). Happy Cab has 30 CNG taxis now and by the end of June will have more than 50, says operations manager John Davis.

A new customer will be Nebraska’s Douglas County, which – at the District’s urging – has budgeted $60,000 for two natural gas fleet vehicles for the 2012/2013 fiscal year. If the two-vehicle pilot project is successful, the county may buy additional vehicles and set up CNG fueling at a county garage.

This article was first published by ShowTimes Daily.

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