“It’s all about energy diversity,” GM commercial product and specialty vehicles director Joyce Mattman said as GM announced gasoline-CNG bi-fuel pickups for 2013 earlier this month.
GM has added bi-fuel CNG-gasoline pickups to its natural gas vehicles range. The bi-fuel CNG Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra 2500 HD extended cab trucks have 6.0-liter V-8 engines with injectors by Bosch. A single Type III CNG cylinder will hold 17 gasoline gallon equivalents of CNG. The bi-fuel vehicle will have a 36-gallon gasoline tank, making for total range of 650 miles. (Photo by James Fassinger for Chevrolet)
GM has offered dedicated-compressed natural gas vans, fitted with CNG fuel systems by Impco Automotive in Union City, Ind. since late 2010. Now, in part to allay “range anxiety,” the new CNG pickups will be bi-fuel vehicles boasting 650 miles of combined CNG and gasoline range.
“This is really the product that our commercial customers, our fleet customers, have been asking for,” Mattman said.
They can start placing orders next month, she said, and deliveries will commence late in 2012. Impco will handle the bi-fuel pickups too.
The bi-fuel CNG Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra 2500 HD extended cab pickup trucks will be available in both short bed and long bed models, said gaseous fuels product manager Mike Jones. GM will use its 6.0-liter V-8 engines with gaseous-prep hardened valves and seats, he said, and injectors by Bosch. A single Type III (aluminum liner and carbon composite overwrap) CNG cylinder will hold 17 gasoline gallon equivalents of CNG, allowing room in the truck bed for a robust protective cabinet. What’s more, Jones explained, the fuel tank will be mounted to the frame itself, not the truck body. The bi-fuel vehicle will have a 36-gallon gasoline tank.
‘Considered a Factory Installation’
“We’re collaborating with Impco on engineering, design and testing of the vehicle,” Jones said.
“This process is considered a factory installation,” Mattman said.
“The bi-fuel Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra provide customers with choices in advanced propulsion technology, and because CNG is a clean-burning, domestically produced fuel, it has wide appeal,” said Ed Peper, fleet and commercial operations GM. “The addition of a full-size bi-fuel pickup truck to GM’s fleet portfolio is another milestone in putting the customer first in everything we do.”
GM says it’s is the only manufacturer to offer a single-source option for its gaseous fuel vehicles. “The bi-fuel trucks are built with a specially designed engine, the fuel system is installed by GM’s Tier One supplier and the completed vehicle is delivered directly to the customer. This process makes ordering the bi-fuel option as seamless and efficient as a standard vehicle,” the company said.
Mattman declined to speculate on volumes, but said that sales people are being encouraged to move as many of the bi-fuel CNG trucks as they can. “Work to send in as many orders as you can and we’ll build them,” she said.
GM is emphasizing a robust Type III CNG tank installation with the 17-GGE cylinder assembly bolted not to the truck bed, but to the chassis frame itself.
The bi-fuel commercial trucks will be covered by GM’s three-year, 36,000-mile new vehicle limited warranty and five-year, 100,000-mile limited powertrain warranty and vehicle emissions warranty, meeting all Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and California Air Resources Board (CARB) emission certification requirements. “It is the most extensive warranty offered by any manufacturer on commercial products,” GM said.
The trucks are built in Fort Wayne, Ind., and sent to Impco in Union City for their gaseous fuel systems.
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