GM trucks use CNG and gasoline
Editor's note: The original version of this story (with also appeared on Page 36 of the March 5 issue) gave incorrect supplier information for the bifuel 2013 Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra 2500. The pickups will be shipped to IMPCO Automotive, which will provide and install the compressed natural gas delivery and storage system.
DETROIT -- General Motors this week will unveil redesigned heavy-duty pickups, the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra 2500, that switch between compressed natural gas and regular gasoline.
GM will begin selling the bifuel pickups in the fourth quarter as 2013 model. It will sell them through its dealers primarily to fleet customers, although individual buyers also will be able to order them.
The pickups start in gasoline mode. When the engine reaches a certain temperature, it switches seamlessly to compressed natural gas mode, GM says. GM predicts a 650-mile range between fill-ups.
GM said it is offering fleet customers a broad selection of fuel-efficient vehicle choices to help drive down costs. GM also offers electric fleet vehicles and ones that run on biofuels such as ethanol.
"The bi-fuel Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra provide customers with choices in advanced propulsion technology, and because compressed natural gas is a clean-burning, domestically produced fuel, it has wide appeal," Ed Peper, general manager of GM Fleet and Commercial Operations, said in a statement.
Joyce Mattman, director of GM's commercial product and specialty vehicles, estimates that owners will save $6,000 to $10,500 on fuel costs compared with a gasoline-powered truck over a three-year period, based on today's gasoline and natural gas prices. GM won't disclose prices for the pickups until next month, when it will begin taking orders.
GM says it will be the only manufacturer to offer pickups that run on compressed natural gas. Currently, many fleet customers convert gasoline-powered vehicles to compressed natural gas by using aftermarket parts and service providers.
GM hopes to win business by providing a single source for fleet customers. Chevrolet and GMC dealers will fill all orders and provide all the service on the natural-gas trucks, Mattman said.
GM offered compressed natural gas vehicles to fleet customers for a decade before phasing them out in 2006. In late 2010 it launched a natural-gas version of the Chevy Express cargo van. GM officials say those vans have sold well but declined to provide sales figures.
The trucks will be built at GM's Fort Wayne, Ind., plant and shipped to IMPCO Automotive, which will provide and install the compressed natural gas delivery and storage system.
The extended-cab trucks come with a Vortec 6-liter V-8 in standard and long-box versions, in either two-wheel or four-wheel drive.
GM will unveil the bifuel Silverado at the National Truck Equipment Association's Work Truck Show in Indianapolis.
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