General Motors will offer bi-fuel versions of the 2015 Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra heavy-duty trucks and dedicated compressed natural gas versions of the 2014 Chevrolet Express and GMC Savana full-size passenger vans next year.
The vehicles were announced today at the Green Fleet Conference & Expo in Phoenix, Ariz., which focuses on clean technologies and alternative-fuel vehicles for fleet operations.
“With these new vehicles, General Motors offers the most comprehensive lineup of manufacturer-engineered, validated and warranted CNG vehicles, helping fleet managers manage their budget and reduce their carbon footprint,” said Ed Peper, vice president for GM Fleet and Commercial sales in the U.S. “Natural gas is less costly at the pump and significantly reduces carbon dioxide emissions, compared to other liquid fuels.”
The bi-fuel versions of Silverado HD and Sierra HD – which run on either gasoline or natural gas – expand the range of available configurations to 2500HD and 3500HD pickup models in all cab styles and 2WD and 4WD drivetrains, he said. Equipment is like that used on current bi-fuel HD pickups.
The 2014 Express and Savana passenger vans join a dedicated CNG lineup that includes cargo versions of the vehicles.
The CNG fuel tanks and complementing fuel systems used in the trucks and vans are installed by GM’s tier one supplier at a secondary location and delivered to customers from Chevrolet and GMC dealerships. The vehicles are fully validated and warranted by GM.
The trucks’ 6-liter V-8 engine features special hardened valves and valve seats that enables it to run on CNG or gasoline. Separate fuel tanks enable the driver to switch between. The system automatically switches to gasoline when the CNG tank is depleted.
“These vehicles meet the rigorous GM standards for safety, reliability and durability,” said Peper. “They’re backed by a comprehensive five-year/100,000-mile transferable powertrain limited warranty, too, meaning we back these vehicles for the long haul.”
All major components associated with the CNG systems have GM service part numbers for broad availability through what GM claims is the largest dealer network in the United States.
Production for the bi-fuel trucks and CNG vans is scheduled to begin early next year. The order and delivery process for the vehicles is the same as ordering any other vehicle option. Orders will be accepted closer to the start of production.
The 2014 CNG versions of the Chevrolet Express and GMC Savana passenger vans join CNG cargo vans that GM has offered for several years. The passenger vans offer seating for up to 15 people, plus room for their cargo.
The vehicles are built with the same gaseous fuel-ready 6-liter V-8 as the bi-fuel Silverado and Sierra trucks, but equipped with dedicated CNG fuel systems. They are available in three- or four-tank models on cargo vans and exclusively with the three-tank design on the passenger van models.
The new CNG passenger vans offer an approximately 200-mile driving range, as do three-tank versions of the cargo vans. With the four-tank configuration, the range on the cargo vans extends to approximately 300 miles.
Natural gas is produced in the U.S. and burns clean with fewer carbon emissions than petroleum fuels, GM officials noted. Gas costs about half the price of gasoline or diesel, which helps pay off upcharges for the vehicle equipment and fueling stations.