Previously Ford had used alternative fuel specialist Tickford to convert its vans, but the new arrangement will see Transits rolling off the production line at Genk in Belgium and converted by Terberg, an in-house Ford facility. Gerry Ravis, Ford Transit brand manager, said: 'The LPG versions will be about £1,250 more than the 90PS diesel Transits, but with a grant from PowerShift, the price will be about equal. But because LPG is so much cheaper to buy, fleets will start saving cash straight away. We reckon on savings of about 33% in everyday conditions, but with a bunkered fuel facility this could rise to 50%.'
The LPG tank will be placed under the van's floor, so no loadspace is lost. It is, however, a small tank, carrying just 75 litres, so range on LPG is limited to about 130 miles. However, petrol can be used as a back-up if necessary.
One problem with LPG vehicles is that repairs have to be carried out by trained staff. Ford has solved this by setting up a specialist dealership in each area and a training programme is already under way for fitters and mechanics. Ravis added: 'We are anxious to get this product on the market as quickly as possible. Everyone recognises that LPG has to be a good deal both for the environment and in cash terms.'