General Motors Co. has plans for its full-sized trucks to soon be powered by compressed natural gas. Within two years, van, pickup and chassis cab models with "a green presence" would be available.
Rick Spina, the vehicle line executive who oversees GM's full-sized trucks, said that a number of fleet operators want to be recognized as green companies, particularly those on the retail side.
At the National Truck Equipment Association's Work Truck Show, Spina said the conversion can be made with few changes to the engine. AT&T Corp. is reportedly adding as many as 8,000 vehicles that run on compressed natural gas.
This includes mainly Ford E-250 Econoline vans. Spina added that GM would have to harden the valves as well as other things "for durability reasons" but it would still be "pretty much" a gasoline engine.
Since the power curve is different, the transmission would have to be recalibrated. GM has yet to decide if it will do the complete conversion, let another company do it or let the fleet operator find a converter.
Roush Enterprises, a Detroit area engineering company, does Ford's conversions. On a gasoline-equivalent basis, the fuel economy of a natural-gas vehicle is slightly lower than that of a comparable gasoline-powered vehicle. [via autonews]