Based on the reception for the propane-fueled pickups offered by ROUSH Performance, the company is launching into the next phase of their liquid propane-injected vehicle offerings with a line of E-Series vans.
“The response from the fleets to our line of F-150, F-250 and F-350 propane pickups and conversion kits has been outstanding, and their feedback inspired us to develop the complete line of E-Series vans. Many of the fleet managers we have spoken with utilize a tremendous number of vans in the course of their daily business and were looking for the type of cost and environmental advantages that propane offers as a motor fuel. Their desire is what motivated ROUSH to continue to add to our line of propane vehicles,” said Jack Roush.
The order banks are now open for the propane-fueled E-150, E-250 and E-350 and production is anticipated to begin in the first quarter of 2010. ROUSH will offer fuel-conversion solutions for both passenger and cargo van applications. The E-Series was selected because Ford has long held a leadership role in the van segment for more than 30 years and fleet managers are familiar with the ordering process, cost of ownership, and maintenance schedules.
From an emissions reduction standpoint, the ROUSH propane-fueled E-Series vans will achieve Super Ultra Low Emission Vehicle (SULEV) II emission standards; on average a SULEV vehicle is 90 percent cleaner in emissions than the average new-model year car or truck. The ROUSH conversion system works on the Ford 5.4L, V-8 engine found in 2009 and newer vans, including the gaseous prep engine offered by the Ford Motor Company.
As an alternative fuel, propane offers a variety of advantages. It is available “right here, right now” with a national fueling infrastructure already in place. Propane burns cleaner, with up to 20 percent less nitrous oxide, up to 60 percent less carbon monoxide and fewer particulate emissions. It is already the third most widely used fuel worldwide, following gasoline and diesel. Propane is 90 percent domestically produced, and as an alternative fuel, the purchase of propane-powered vehicles are eligible for a variety of federal, state, and municipal tax credits or rebates.
Numerous studies have been conducted on the operational savings fleets can achieve by converting to propane as a motor fuel, and a savings calculator is available online at www.SwitchToPropane.com that allows the user to input variables specific to their usage. It is not uncommon for fleet managers to see savings of more than $17,500 per van over a total vehicle life of 150,000 miles.
“Evidence clearly shows that propane as a motor fuel can save fleets considerable amounts of money. Now fleets are taking a hard look at their environmental impact as well. Propane is available right here, right now and can help fleets on both of these fronts. I’m pleased that ROUSH is taking steps to make a variety of propane-fueled vehicles available,” said Brian Feehan, vice-president of the Propane Education & Research Council.
As with all the ROUSH propane-fueled vehicles, the E-Series vans will be covered by a 3-year/36,000-mile warranty. Dealers are able to order the conversion on a ship-through basis to help reduce transportation costs, or conversion systems can be ordered and installed through any authorized Ford dealership for vehicles already in operation.
While propane fueling stations are already quite prevalent, such as at each of the more than 1200 U-Haul locations nationwide, many of the fleets prefer to have a refueling station on-site at their location of business. ROUSH can assist with this by working with propane distributors such as Ferrellgas, AmeriGas or Heritage Propane to install a propane fueling station at little to no cost to the fleet.
ROUSH is currently working on developing a propane kit for the Ford 6.8L, V-10 engine used on the E-450 Cutaway vehicle. This is scheduled to be available in late 2010.