Print 20 comment(s) - last by sankathom.. on Mar 18 at 11:03 PM

Special trucks switch from CNG to gasoline automatically when needed

Green is certainly in for Detroit automakers. “Green”, however, goes further than battery-powered EVs and hybrids for most brands. GMC and Chevrolet have announced that the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra full-size trucks will get a new option in late 2012 that will allow the vehicle to run both compressed natural gas and traditional gasoline.
The trucks will be able to seamlessly transition from compressed natural gas to the gasoline operation with no input from the driver. The engines in both trucks are the Vortec 6.0L V-8. With the combined CNG and gasoline fuel systems, the truck has a 650-mile driving range. Both GMC and Chevrolet will offer the trucks in standard and long bed with two-wheel drive or four-wheel drive options.
“The bi-fuel Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra provide customers with choices in advanced propulsion technology, and because CNG is a clean-burning, domestically produced fuel, it has wide appeal, “said Ed Peper, general manager, GM Fleet and Commercial Operations. “ The addition of a full-size bi-fuel pickup truck to GM’s fleet portfolio is another milestone in putting the customer first in everything we do – by offering great products, innovative solutions and a great customer experience.”
GM notes that it is the only carmaker is able to offer a single source for gaseous fuel vehicles. The truck has its specially designed engine with fuel management system installed by Tier One. The supplier ships the truck directly to the customer when completed. The truck will also carry the standard GM three year, 36,000 mile limited warranty while the five-year, 100,000 mile limited powertrain warranty. The vehicles also meet EPA and CARB emission certifications.
“The bi-fuel truck provides businesses with added re-fueling flexibility and eases consumer range concerns that typically come with CNG, all while reducing emissions and controlling costs,” said Joyce Mattman, director, GM Commercial Product and Specialty Vehicles. “This turnkey ordering process, combined with the best warranty in the industry for a commercial product, makes our bi-fuel truck an attractive option, especially for commercial customers.”

Source: GM

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Thank goodness...
By jharper12 on 3/6/2012 10:13:28 AM , Rating: 2
I have heard this request from fleet managers often, I'm glad to see this option coming. If they bring back quadra-steer I may never hear a complaint about GM trucks again. This is really amazing, definitely made my day.

RE: Thank goodness...
By FITCamaro on 3/6/2012 10:36:27 AM , Rating: 3
I'm curious to know the power and mileage difference between CNG and gas.

RE: Thank goodness...
By Starcub on 3/6/2012 12:10:30 PM , Rating: 4
CNG has about 1/3 the energy density of gasoline but *should* cost about 1/4 as much. In practice it might be a viable option for some people in California, otherwise it tends to be more expensive to build and service CNG vehicles and more difficult to find fuel.

CNG may be better than gasoline as a transportation fuel, but it is a gap filler at best, and in 20+ years we will need to start buying it from foreign countries -- will it still be cheap then? IMHO all electric is still the way to go long term.

RE: Thank goodness...
By Spuke on 3/6/2012 12:18:24 PM , Rating: 2
I was excited until I saw it was only for the gas trucks. :(

RE: Thank goodness...
By acer905 on 3/6/2012 1:01:09 PM , Rating: 2
I'd still like to see Algae derived bio-diesel over electric.

RE: Thank goodness...
By Mint on 3/8/2012 3:47:18 PM , Rating: 2
I really don't think "all electric" is the way to go.

If a plugin hybrid with 40-mile electric range can displace 80% of a driver's mileage and has the range and refueling convenience of a regular car, that's a hell of a lot better use of battery resources than a pure EV with a 300-mile range that takes forever to fill up and is only useful for people willing to live with that limitation.

Otherwise, good points about CNG. We're a few years away from a 5-year payback time for PHEV, so going the CNG route doesn't make sense now, particularly when all this wind generation needs natural gas backup (too bad nuclear took so long to gain acceptance).

RE: Thank goodness...
By kattanna on 3/6/2012 12:14:28 PM , Rating: 2
the truck has a 650-mile driving range.

hmm.. according the GMs website the 2012 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 already has a 510city/680 highway range.

If they are reducing the existing 34 gallon tank size that the above vehicle seems to have to make room for the CNG instead, then it might actually be a negative here for general use.

RE: Thank goodness...
By Keeir on 3/6/2012 2:13:49 PM , Rating: 3
mileage difference between CNG and gas.

I think its more miles/dollar your caring about.

A gallon of gasoline contains ~34 kWh of energy.

34 kWh of NG is ~ 1.2 Therms of Natural Gas. A large fleet company could probably get ~60-75 cents per Therm total cost.

I'd be shocked if a fleet operator was paying more than 80 cents for 34 kWh of Natural Gas. Natural Gas conversion often suffer from 10-20% efficiency hit. I'd imagine that most fleet operators could operate on CNG for unloaded truck cruising at ~1.00 or less for the same miles as 1 gallon of gas.

RE: Thank goodness...
By Shig on 3/6/2012 6:03:18 PM , Rating: 2
This is a great initiative by the big autos. The US has so much natural gas infrastructure already, we just need to start adding the refueling stations and continue working on getting the costs of CNG fuel tanks down.

Some more math:

*NGV tanks are sized in "gallons of gasoline equivalent" (GGE).*

1.25 Therm = 1 Gallon equivalent of gasoline (GGE)

US Average gasoline Jan 2012 - 3.447$ a gallon
US Average Natural Gas Jan 2012 - 1.021$ a *therm* (~1.276$ GGE)

^^ Map of where the stations are. California, New York, Utah, and Oklahoma have the most.

Less emissions
By TSS on 3/6/12, Rating: 0
RE: Less emissions
By geddarkstorm on 3/6/2012 12:35:08 PM , Rating: 4
Think of it as simply putting those chemicals back. After all, they had to come from somewhere in the first place.

RE: Less emissions
By Solandri on 3/6/2012 4:26:14 PM , Rating: 2
When I was in school in Boston, a labmate was telling me how the city had dredged part of the harbor to make it deeper and friendlier to ship traffic. Being one of the oldest cities in the U.S., the bottom of the harbor contains centuries of biological and industrial waste runoff from the greater Boston area.

So they dredged up the mud + whatever else from the bottom of the harbor and loaded it onto a barge. Normally you'd then take the barge to a sufficiently deep site, and dump the mud back into the water. Except the "whatever else" in Boston harbor mud caused the EPA to classify it as a hazardous material, and they were prohibited from dumping it back into the harbor. They had to truck it to a site which did something to clean it (probably an incinerator), then bury it on land.

RE: Less emissions
By Boingo Twang on 3/7/2012 10:46:35 AM , Rating: 2
It's usually treated by running it through certain types of clay that bind to the toxic materials.

As far as CNG goes don't imagine that this is somehow "green" as the fracking extraction process is ruining ground water throughout the USA and world. It's also causing earthquakes. In the USA the energy companies' lobbyists have managed to get themselves granted exemptions from clean water laws. Talk about the evils of "socialism" huh?

RE: Less emissions
By Starcub on 3/8/2012 6:44:00 PM , Rating: 2
Salvaging homes from sinkholes = MOAR JOBS!!!

CNG some what popular in Germany for autos
By Beenthere on 3/6/12, Rating: 0
By Devilboy1313 on 3/7/2012 1:27:03 AM , Rating: 2
The only problem is that Americans, for the most part, seem to dislike diesel for some reason.

Those diesel hybrids that BMW & Volks are working on seem very interesting.

By bbcdude on 3/7/2012 12:44:44 PM , Rating: 1
Americans and Canadians like diesel just fine, but our own brand of Green zealots have been waging a anti-diesel campaign for years. This has been spearheaded by the california sub-species. In typical fashion, the industry is being controlled by a few loud minority. For some reason they think it is worthwhile to appease a small loud group instead of giving the majority the choices they want. This also sums up the electric car. If you think a majority want an electric car, then your just not paying attention.

By Mint on 3/8/2012 9:09:50 PM , Rating: 2
Lack of diesel in NA has nothing to do with green zealots, and swaying opinion to accept diesel cars isn't going to accomplish much for the following reason:

When you refine crude oil, you get a certain amount of diesel and a certain amount of gasoline. Hydrocracking can get you more diesel, but almost all the refineries in the world (aside from those in the US) are already using that method. If the US made a major push towards diesel, then it's likely that prices would go up until people started switching back.

Right now the balance is pretty good. Also, while diesel has made great strides in emissions, the best diesels are still only as good as average gasoline engines.

By Mint on 3/8/2012 9:15:56 PM , Rating: 2
Here's the article I was looking for:
"Should American Vehicles go Diesel Just When the World is Running Short of it?"

Diesel refined in America
By sankathom on 3/18/2012 11:03:15 PM , Rating: 2
Do your homework people - Most of the diesel refined in America is sent to Europe, where our American Oil companies are making a killing selling it at a much higher price than even we are paying. Some of the "other" energy companies has this natural gas product and plenty of it. In fact, we have enough to last about 100 years and we are still drilling. BUT and that is a very big but....we desparately need as many alternate energy sources as possible or we (Americans) find ourselves in the same miserable spot we are in right now - caught by the short ones by Big Oil.

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