General Motors will be introducing its bifuel heavy-duty pickups, the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra 2500, this week. These pickups can switch between compressed natural gas and regular gasoline. Sales of these pickups, which would be available as 2013 models, will start in the fourth quarter. GM is targeting fleet customers but it could be ordered by individual buyers too.
The pickups would begin in gasoline mode but when the engine hits a certain temperature, it switches smoothly to compressed natural gas mode. GM estimates that the pickups could have a 650-mile range between fill-ups. In addition, GM said that to lessen the costs, fleet customers can chose from a wide range of fuel-efficient options.
In addition, GM offers electric fleet vehicles and those that run on biofuels like ethanol. Ed Peper, general manager of GM Fleet and Commercial Operations, said that the bi-fuel Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra give several choices to customers when it comes to advanced propulsion technology. The automaker said that its “wide appeal” comes from the fact that compressed natural gas is a “clean-burning, domestically produced fuel.”
According to Joyce Mattman, director of GM's commercial product and specialty vehicles, owners are expected to save $6,000 to $10,500 on fuel costs compared with a gasoline-powered truck over a three-year period.
This figure is based on current gasoline and natural gas prices. The pricing details on these pickups aren’t available yet. It’s also undetermined yet when orders will begin to be taken. GM claims that it will be the only automaker to offer pickups that run on compressed natural gas. Presently, several fleet customers convert gasoline-powered vehicles to compressed natural gas with the use of aftermarket parts and service providers.