Roush CleanTech – the division of Roush Enterprises focusing on alternative-fuel propulsion – expects to sell 6,000 of its liquid propane-fueled Ford engines this year, surpassing 20,000 total sales, reports the Detroit Free Press.
It took the company six years to reach 14,000 unit sales – an average of around 2,300 sales per year.
Roush CleanTech modifies Ford’s 6.8-liter V10 petrol engine to run on propane autogas, using up to 170 unique components. The advantages of fueling with propane – sometimes called Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) – are clear: “It’s cleaner than gasoline and diesel. We have a lot of it [in the US], and we started to see that from a technical perspective it’s easy to integrate into a Ford truck or a school bus,” says Roush CleanTech Vice President of Sales and Marketing Todd Mouw.
The Ford V10s that Roush CleanTech modifies to run on LPG can be ordered in medium-duty Ford chassis cabs and cutaways, but of particular value to the company of late is a partnership with the Blue Bird Corporation – a Georgia-based company best known for their school buses. Roush ships its modified Ford V10s directly to Blue Bird’s manufacturing plant in Ft. Valley.
“School buses operating on propane are environmentally friendly and reliable in cold weather conditions, plus offer cost-saving benefits,” says Keith Wunderlich, Superintendent of Waterford Schools in Michigan, which just added 10 new propane-fueled buses from Blue Bird to its fleet in December.
Propane autogas still trails behind Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) in terms of popularity in alternative-fuel vehicles in the US, but not by much; the Detroit Free Press reports that there are currently around 143k LPG-fueled vehicles on the road in the country, compared to 153k powered by CNG.