Posted: November 20, 2012
NEW BI-FUEL TRUCK CONVERSIONS A GROWING SOLUTION FOR FLEETS
Venchurs’ Ford F-250 Demonstrates Why Light-Duty Bi-Fuel Pickup Conversions Are Increasing In PopularityBy Dan Sanchez
As fuel prices rise, companies with fleet vehicles have been looking for ways to cut costs. One solution that is quickly growing in popularity, is to convert fleet trucks to use both gasoline and compressed natural gas (CNG). CNG upgrades are on the rise, and companies with large and small fleet trucks, are looking for the best options that can provide installation, seamless integration, and full-service capabilities.
Vehicle modifiers such as Venchurs Vehicle Systems, is one of several who are dedicated to servicing the needs of companies looking to purchase turn-key, bi-fuel trucks, or convert existing vehicles. According to Jeff Wyatt, CEO of Venchurs, the company has been an OE service provider for more than 40 years and has recently built a 2012 Ford F-250 to demonstrate the capabilities that bi-fuel trucks can offer. “We’ve been working hard on making CNG conversions as seamless as possible,” says Wyatt. “Our 2012 F-250 showcases an extreme example of how seamless our conversions are, while demonstrating the performance potential in a rugged and capable off-road truck.”
Venchurs is a Ford Qualified Vehicle Modifier (QVM) and their F-250 has been upgraded with a CNG conversion that runs seamlessly, due to the company’s concentration on developing the proper engine management software. The F-250 can switch from CNG to diesel on the fly, with a simple flick of a dash mounted switch. There’s no hesitation, difference in ride quality or engine noise; so it’s difficult to tell when the engine is running on gasoline or natural gas. “We’ve also heard concerns over power with CNG conversions, so we made an effort to showcase the truck’s overall performance in off-road and towing conditions,” Wyatt added.
Outfitted with a two-inch Superlift suspension lift, Bilstein shocks and 35-inch diameter BFGoodrich Mud-Terrain tires, the F-250 is very capable off road and doesn’t lack in power. Yet, this bi-fuel vehicle has a total fuel range of 650 miles. Because Venchurs is a QVM, there are no factory warranty issues.
In addition to the suspension modification, the Venchurs F-250 was also upgraded with an Asfir skid plate, and Fab Fours front and rear heavy-duty bumpers. A Warn 16,000 lbs winch is integrated into the front bumper that also features a grille guard and IPF driving lights. Getting in and out of the cab is much easier with an AMP Research retractable step. But once you’re sitting inside the cab, the truck drives and feels like a normal F250.
“We even placed the CNG refill nozzle next to the gas fuel filer cap, so that the truck doesn’t operate or feel any different for the driver,” says Wyatt. CNG is a very abundant, clean and domestically available. The only concern is that more CNG fill stations must be added to make the system convenient for fleets. Despite this fact, the benefits are plentiful and include lower fuel and maintenance costs, fewer emissions, and a reduced dependency on oil and higher safety ratings.
While CNG conversions are not new to the truck market, the sophistication and ease of operation has definitely improved over the last few years. Vehicles like the Venchurs Ford F-250 definitely prove that the technology has come a long way. Hopefully this will lead to additional infrastructure for building more CNC filling stations, and bi-fuel use can put a dent in our ever increasing dependency on oil.