A Mustang with a "Propane" license plate will get my attention. As I walked by the Impco Technologies booth at the AFVI show in Las Vegas this week, I couldn't help but stop to find out more. Sadly, the sticker on the side of the Mustang that read "Plug and Drive" didn't mean what we might assume. The slogan is more about the ease of installation; not about any plug that reaches from the car to the grid (we'll have to leave it to these guys for our plug-in Mustangs). Still, there's some cool tech going on here.
I spoke with Rob Mercer, IMPCO's business manager of transportation, about the 'Stang. He's proud of the proof-of-concept modifications that were done to the 2005 Mustang but he's got a special reason to be smiling about what's been added to the car. It's his personal vehicle, after all. So, what's the haps?
IMPCO has developed a bi-fuel system that Mercer claims can seamlessly switch between the propane stored in the trunk or the gasoline stored in the standard tank. The vehicle will also automatically switch between the two, for example when one fuel type is about to run out. The system can be added to any production vehicle (in the Mustang, the system cost about $3,500) and IMPCO has also developed a natural gas bi-fuel system (for around $10,000) that works well in large pick-up trucks. One of the benefits of the dual-fuel set-up, Mercer said, is that the end user does not have to worry about moving to an atypical fuel type. Whenever they want to - which probably won't be often considering the price difference between natural gas and standard gasoline - they can fill up using gas.
Give a listen (6 min) and check out the gallery.