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.
The 6-speed transmission fitted in the Chevrolet Silverado has been improved to a point wherein under normal mode, the transmission is able to downshift especially when undergoing deceleration. This allows it to utilize the engine compression and thus helps the vehicle brake slowly and efficiently and therefore lowers the possibility of brake wear.
While models already have the Cruise Grade Braking, the one in the new Silverado is able to function whether the Tow/haul mode is activated or not. This is only possible though for 1500 models and those fitted with either the 5.3-liter V8 engine or the 6.2-liter V8 unit. Fitted in the Silverado are various technical features that improve capability not only for work but for recreation as well.
For example, there is now a navigation radio installed. In addition, the display has been improved and through the use of a hard drive, it removes the need to have map data on discs. The new model also has a wide range of control and confidence features. Its StabiliTrak now includes the Hill Start Assist which helps drivers avoid any roll-back just as it starts to accelerate uphill.
The StabiliTrak also has the Trailer Sway Control system. This system controls the powertrain and utilizes the brakes to make sure that the vehicle and the trailer remain on the correct lane. There are also other features fitted to the Silverado like USB connectivity and Bluetooth for mobile phones. There is also the SiriusXM satellite radio and the OnStar Directions & Connections (which is considered as exclusive to the segment) that comes with the Turn-by-Turn Navigation and Automatic Crash Response.
For those who want to be connected to the web, the Autonet-powered Chevy WiFi can be installed and is available through the different authorized Chevrolet dealers. This not only turns the Silverado into an internet hot spot but can even turn it into an office on wheels. Full internet access is made available to a number of users and connection is possible inside or as far as 150 away.
Families who like to go on trips can easily connect with relatives or friends by streaming video or going to social media sites. They can even use it to know the weather, find maps, and look for camping sites or fishing spots. The Chevy WiFi is not only for fun as it is useful for work. Through this system, it makes it possible to connect immediately, to name a few, to different ordering sites online and municipal website where one can obtain information on building codes or building permits.