General Motors is jumping on the compressed natural gas bandwagon, announcing Monday it will begin taking orders next month for 2013 Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra 2500 HD extended cab pickup trucks.
The bi-fuel trucks — which can run on gasoline or CNG — will be available for fleet and retail customers. Prices were not included in Monday’s announcement.
“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, general manager, GM Fleet and Commercial Operations. “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 – by offering great products, innovative solutions and a great customer experience.”
Consumer Reports says the trucks have a CNG tank in the bed that looks like a large toolbox. The CNG filler resides under a flap on the left side of the tank, above the rail of the pickup bed. A 6.0-liter V8 engine can be switched from running on CNG to gasoline and back via a switch on the dashboard.
GM says 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 bi-fuel truck provides businesses with added re-fueling flexibility and eases consumer range concerns that typically come with CNG, all while reducing emissions and controlling costs,” said Joyce Mattman, director, GM Commercial Product and Specialty Vehicles. “This turnkey ordering process, combined with the best warranty in the industry for a commercial product, makes our bi-fuel truck an attractive option, especially for commercial customers.”
CNG could be an increasingly attractive alternative to gasoline, with the average price in Oklahoma at $3.548 a gallon on Monday, according to AAA. CNG sells for $1.85 a gallon at a number of Oklahoma City locations.