Due to hydraulic fracturing bringing the price of natural gas down, GM is launching a line of Silverado 2500HD and 3500HD pickups that can run CNG to pass the savings on to YOOOUUU!
CNG is 62% cheaper than gasoline right now, and GM is jumping on the trend of powering utility vehicles with a combination of the two to cut down on fleet fuel tabs.
The new trucks won't run on compressed natural gas exclusively, rather they'll be "bi-fuel" capable with tanks for both gasoline and CNG. A driver can toggle between fuels with a switch, and the truck automatically switches to gasoline when the CNG tank runs dry.
"With CNG capability to be offered on all Silverado HD cab configurations, customers have a wider range of choices when it comes to selecting the alternatively fueled truck that matches their needs," said Ed Peper, U.S. vice president, General Motors Fleet and Commercial. 2500HD double cab and crew cab models are on sale now. 2500HD regular cab and all 3500HD models are slated to be available in July of this year.
Only single rear-wheel Silverados will be able to run CNG.
GM's claiming the maximum range of their new heavies will be 650 miles, with a max ball-hitch towing rating of 13,000 pounds with a 4.10 axle ratio.
The standard five-year/100,000-mile powertrain limited warranty GM offers on all their HD trucks also applies to the CNG fuel system, with major components carrying GM service part numbers. GM is keen to point out that's an edge over competitors— they reckon other badge's CNG conversions are heavily aftermarket-dependent hack jobs. Well, at least that's how I interpreted the press release.
"Silverado bi-fuel pickups are available through any of Chevrolet's more than 3,000 dealerships across America just like any other model," said Peper. "It's one of the industry's most seamless integration of OEM-delivered CNG vehicles."
The "LC8" engine in the CNG heavy duty pickups is GM's 6.0 V8 modified with hardened valves and valve seats. GM claims 360 horsepower and 380 lb-ft of torque (515 Nm) on gas, 301 horsepower and 333 lb-ft of torque on CNG.
Guess it depends on what kind of fleet discount you can get when you buy a bunch to really calculate what kind of savings you could rack up running one of these as opposed to a traditional petrol or diesel Heavy Duty. These trucks will be sold in commercial contexts only.
Images: Brian Williams, General Motors