The first compressed natural gas, or CNG, capable half-ton pickup truck rolled off of an assembly line in Kansas City last November. It sported a 3.7-liter V6 engine, hardened pistons and valves, a factory-installed gaseous fuel-prep system, and greatly reduced costs. While a conversion kit for a gasoline-powered truck costs between $6,000 and $9,500, the new natural gas fuel-capable engine only sets you back an extra $315 plus engine costs. The manufacturing facility was owned by Ford Motor Company , and the truck was none other than a 2014 model of the best-selling F-150.
Source: General Electric .
An at-home refueling station would essentially be a scaled-down, compact version of the CNG In A Box technology.
Source: GE Global Research .
That could be a boon for automakers investing in NGVs. Unlike all-electric vehicles that really are suppressed by limited national recharging infrastructure , CNG-capable vehicles typically come with two fuel tanks: one for gasoline and one for natural gas. That makes the growth prospects for Ford Motor Company and its competitors a bit more promising in the early stages of the market's development, since range anxiety is a non-factor.
However, drivers may not be willing to fork over the extra cash for a Bi-Fuel vehicle if they'll rarely fill up the CNG tank. The General Electric at-home refueling station could change the game significantly. If you knew you had a cheap, steady supply of vehicle fuel in your garage or driveway, then you may be more willing to buy the CNG-capable F-150 instead of a gasoline-only model. After all, the average national selling price of CNG is just $2.00 per gasoline equivalent gallon including taxes and service charges. In other words, the payback period on your investment (a cheap fueling station and gaseous-fuel prep system for your truck) would be extremely short depending on your driving habits. That's especially true if you drove exclusively on CNG, which would be a distinct possibility.
Foolish bottom line
General Electric is often at the forefront of emerging technologies and industries -- and its early position in the NGV market is no different. Similar to Ford Motor Company's long-term bullishness on CNG-capable vehicles, General Electric is willing to take short-term risks for big, long-term gains. When the project's completion is announced at the end of 2014, investors will learn just how soon at-home fueling stations will be available for purchase. Whether it takes one year or until the end of the decade for the technology to be widely deployed, this is exactly the kind of technology the market needs and is yet another sign that NGVs are for real.
Warren Buffett's worst auto-nightmare (hint: It's not Tesla)
A major technological shift is happening in the automotive industry. Most people are skeptical about its impact. Warren Buffett isn't one of them. He recently called it a "real threat" to one of his favorite businesses. An executive at Ford called the technology "fantastic." The beauty for investors is that there is an easy way to ride this megatrend. Click here to access our exclusive report on this stock.
The article General Electric Company Wants to Refuel Your Natural Gas Ford F-150 at Home originally appeared on Fool.com.
Maxx Chatsko has no position in any stocks mentioned. Check out hispersonal portfolio,CAPS page,previous writing for The Motley Fool, or his work forSynBioBeta to keep up with developments in the synthetic biology industry. The Motley Fool recommends Ford. The Motley Fool owns shares of Ford and General Electric Company. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days . We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy .
Copyright © 1995 - 2014 The Motley Fool, LLC. All rights reserved. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy .
The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.