GM Announces Bi-Fuel Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra 2500 HDs

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By Dave Lee

GM announced today a bi-fuel version of the 2013 Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra 2500 HDs that can run either on regular gas or compressed natural gas. 

The extended cab is powered by a 6.0-liter V-8 that makes the same horsepower and torque as you'd find in the base model with "a minimal loss" with CNG, said Mike Jones, GM's CNG product manager. The pickup will be available in long- and short-bed versions and two- and four-wheel drive.

The engine initially runs on gas, then automatically switches over to CNG once an optimum temperature is reached. When the CNG runs out, the engine transitions back to gas. A dashboard switch allows the driver to manually control which fuel is being used, Jones said.

The combination of the 17-gallon CNG tank and the standard 36-gallon gas tank provide more than 650 miles of range, GM says. When running on regular gas, the bifuel pickup should achieve the same gas mileage. Jones did not give exact fuel economy ratings when the system is running on CNG but we would guess, like most CNG powertrains, it will be a little less than gasoline.

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CNG offers benefits in increased fuel efficiency and reduced emissions. It generates 25 percent less carbon dioxide and is in abundant supply. The infrastructure is growing, too. Since 2009, the number of CNG stations has increased 26 percent.

Over three years, truck owners could see savings between $6,000 and $10,500, Jones said.

No pricing was announced, but this model is likely aimed at fleet and commercial buyers that have the proper infrastructure to sustain CNG vehicles. California, Utah, Oklahoma and New York are among the biggest markets for CNG vehicles.

The conversion of the pickups into bi-fuel trucks is being handled by IMPCO Automotive and will cut into the truck's payload and GCWR by 450 pounds. 

Orders will begin in April, and shipments are expected toward the end of the year. We expect to have more details as this new product gets closer to its on-sale date.

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The best truck just got better.

Seems like old tech. With LPG, newer systems are dedicated to the alternative fuel have liquid injection instead of vapor. No loss of power, torque, or economy. No need to start up on regular unleaded either. GM really needs new gasoline engines too.

@Johnny Doe

Keep dreaming about which truck is best.

with that said, I actually think this is a good idea. It will work alot better than E-85 which tanks your gas mileage.

@Alex they have introduced a LPG/Bi Fuel engine for the Holden Commodore and some HSV models that does not have liquid injection.Almost impossible to tell the difference.
"Holden believes the vapour system is better suited to Australian conditions (despite HSV using a liquid injection system similar to the Falcon), offering consistent start-up in hot climates while being less mechanically demanding on the whole powertrain. The General Motors-owned company conducted over 1.3 million kilometres of testing to fine-tune its vapour phase injection system and developed its own injectors, fuel rail system and filters, all of which are unique to the LPG Commodore."

I'm glad that some automaker has started CNG. There is rumors that Ram is working on a setup too.

Ford does this as well with the F250/F350. IIRC, they use Westport Innovations as their converter.

Leaving the rest in the dust, nice to see GM still the leader with the best truck and the leader in CNG. Honda is the only other auto company that has made inroads in the CNG vehicles. I hope they put it in the 1/2 ton non-commercial truck too, the 1500 far out does any other truck even as an older model. The new GM trucks will leave the rest 20 miles behind instead of the 5 miles behind they are now.

Its obviously nothing radically new, but for it to be a factory warranted option is nice. Not so nice is the tank eating up 2 feet of bed space.
Is there currently exise tax on CNG? How do retail prices compare? IOW, what kind of ROI can you expect?

Nice, now I know what I'm getting in 2 years.
Silverado 2500HD w/CNG.

PUTC didn't mention it, but Express/Savanna are getting it also. Fleet customers will take advantage of it I'm sure, but just wait 'til all those European contractors will get a sniff of it. They know the deal, Europe has been running on LPG, in their case, for a while. Chevy should expect some pretty steady line of orders coming in.

hurray for some decent news from GM for once. right on the tail of chrysler's news that the ram will be offered with CNG in June. Go to Utah and there's f-150s running on CNG all over the place. I hear that CNG is really hard on an engine. Anyone know if this is true?

I'm pretty sure ford has been making trucks for some large companies that are easily converted to CNG since the late 90s, but I guess it's cool that some companies are finally making them ready from the factory with a warranty. But from what I hear about reliability, I wonder how good that warranty will really be.

Sure cng is abundant right now
Just wait till every switches to that stuff

No longer abundant eeh?

Here's an older study comparing CNG to Gas. It's from the DOE and they used Fords that have been available with the CNG option since 1997. The nice thing about the new GM's is the ability to manage Bi-fuel consumption.


I checked, and from the factory, Ford does offer a CNG/LPG prep package on the 6.2 Super Duty. However, it specifically says "CNG/LPG fuel tanks, lines, etc. not included". So while the engine may be CNG/LPG capable, the fuel system must be installed aftermarket, and does not carry factory warranty.

I checked Westwood's site, and they do offer their own warranty on the conversion, but it doesn't come cheap. The conversion is $9750 plus the $315 for the prep package, and the optional larger CNG tank is another $1200.

If GM can offer this system for under $10K, they'll have the edge over Ford.

"Everybody" doesn't have to switch to any one alternative fuel. If 10% move to CNG, 10% move to electric, and 10% move to another alternative yet to be named, it would drastically reduce the pressure on gas. Energy prices could stabilize better if there were several alternatives.

sounds interesting, just worried about the blow up risk in an accident.

Ram will not be offered w/CNG in June. Starting in June Chrysler will build about 2000 HD trucks, then they will sell them to "fleet operators or natural-gas explorers". No word yet when they will offer them to retail customers.
Also, Ram will have both tanks (gasoline and CNG) installed in the forward position of the bed (8-foot bed only). The truck will do 250 miles on CNG and about 110 miles on 8-gallon tank of gasoline. The truck will not have it's regular 35-gallon tank at all?
Plus, Ram will be build in Mexico. And I know for some of you guys it's a very important fact.
Ford also offers CNG ready vehicles, but you have to do the installation yourself, tank and all.

Natural gas is a commodity traded on the stock market so the same douchebags that are jacking up the price of oil can do the same thing to natural gas.

Never the less, nearly any vehicle can be converted to CNG.
So if you think your truck is the best then go for it. It's not new technology. fleet cars have been running on CNG for decades. This is not Honda's innovation.

You still need access to natural gas and that's convenient if you have natural gas at home or at work but many people do not. It's also becoming more apparent that drilling for natural gas is not eco-friendly in the least.

Lets also not forget that the concept of bi-fuel or multi-fuel has been around since the 40's or 50's when military vehicles were designed to run on whatever was around. Waste oil, diesel, whatever. If it burns, it'll work. Nice to see it making a comeback. Sorta.

The only real promising thing I see about this is POSSIBLY the ability to get a large increase in range. If you can go from 350 miles to 650 miles on a fill up, that's a pretty nice time saver.

Bi-curious fuel?

Good to see this as an option especially since the US has plenty of Natural Gas and the price of gas is reasonable. Hope this becomes popular. Would be good to see the US take some steps toward energy independence.

@Robert Ryan-I really like that Commodore wagon. My wife would be interested in something like that but since wagons are not popular in the US and crossovers are the rage I guess we will wait for a midsize crossover with hybrid power.

Unfortunately, at least with GM, the alternative fuel tank is in the pickup bed taking away useable space. Perhaps in future (as demand drives it) they'll be one specific fuel & setup as such.

I like that GM is making this avalible right from the factory ready to go. But that tank I think that tank takes up to much bed space. I like the idea of using the natural gas normally and swiching to regular gas when you need the extra power like to tow.

CNG conversions as well as propane have been around for decades. I don't like the fact that the tank is in the box. That has traditionally been the location of most tanks though. Why not mount the tanks under the truck? The spare tire could go in the bed old school and still have room for 4x4 pallets or 4x8 sheets of plywood etc.
What was the price of the conversion?

This looks like an aftermarket conversion done outside of GM's rooftop..........nothing new here. Ram will be the ony factory produced CNG truck. And the reason Ram has the smaller gasoline tank is so that it can qualify for tax credits, which is a goal for the end user. Most retail customers want Crew cab anyway, look at the sales.

From the article......"The conversion of the pickups into bi-fuel trucks is being handled by IMPCO Automotive"

"And the reason Ram has the smaller gasoline tank is so that it can qualify for tax credits..."
Please explain what a smaller tank has to do with tax credits?

@Jeff. Tend to be used by some families and salesmen. You can get a 6.2 V8 Version as well.

@XTX They use primarily diesel in Europe. We have gas engines for car/utes like the Holden and Ford Utes, they have LPG variants like the sedans.. CNG is used for short haul light trucks in Australia as a variant to diesel.

PFFF. WOW I hope this is not GM's answer LOL. What a joke. Meanwhile people are still buying F-Series and RAMs.

I think they won't put them underneath for safety reasons, that's one. CNG is stored at high pressure, they're much safer in the bed of the truck. But I think the shape (cylinder shape) and size of them has to do even more with the mounting location.
Here is a short run down for mounting cylinders:
• May be located within, below or above the passenger compartment
• No portion can be located ahead of the front axle or behind the point of attachment of the rear bumper
• Must have the label visible
• Cannot be within eight inches of the exhaust system without proper shielding
• Must be mounted at least nine inches above the ground for vehicles over 127” wheel base or at least seven inches for vehicles with 127” or less.
• Be capable of restraining the cylinder when subjected to a force of eight times the weight of the cylinder in six principle directions without moving over one half inch

PFFF. WOW I hope this is not GM's answer LOL. What a joke. Meanwhile people are still buying F-Series and RAMs.

Posted by: Jackalope | Mar 5, 2012 1:14:3 PM

And the Super Duty truck keeps getting older, greyer, and balder each day.....maybe they should change the name of this truck to the Geriatric Duty?

@Greg J - cool. That makes sense. I remember a Taxi blowing up once (years ago when all of this was new). I have seen tanks mounted where the spare tire used to be. I can't recall if it was propane or CNG.

This is new? Our city has run CNG since the 70's.. I don't get the big deal here? I had an old Dodge van in the 80's that ran on CNG. It was the big thing there for awhile but now all of the filling stations are gone. What good does that do anyone? This news is like 4 decades too late.

And what's with Chevy trucks are their spare tire donut wheels? Those things looks absolutely horrible.

And what's with Chevy trucks are their spare tire donut wheels? Those things looks absolutely horrible.

@Jake, that's what I was going to comment on. lol! I don't have an answer for you but damn is it ugly. Does GM inc. need some more tax money for larger tires or what? Heck, I'd chip in just so I didn't have to look at those things. You have monster truck wheel wells on a truck riding on training wheels. What a hideous mess.

good job gm...maybe the new pickup have something to do whit this..

Guys I see what you mean about the tank in the bed. That does take away from you bed space. It would be better if the tank were out of the way under the truck but if what your saying @Greg J that the tank is under high pressure and would be hazardous then that is not viable. Maybe a system like Ford is developing that is a hybrid without the battery could work. Hopefully the manufacturers are working on some more practical solutions. With skyrocketing energy costs and increasing consumption from China and India we need more efficient vehicles and better alternatives despite the price of fuel and increased oil production (we need increased production as well).

The Air force has been doing this out west for yrs. And trust me you get alot less MPG when on CNG. I had to fill up CNG every 2-3 days and only driven about 100 miles in those 2-3 days. I have yet to see a CNG fill up station in the East or SE.

To each their own....

Ill pass on this, ill just keeping using gas until there is none left. There is no suitable alternative that is realistic. CNG, propane, e85, coal, electric, hydrogen......

None of those will work!

Our cars and trucks to need run on air!

Don't get me wrong guys. You can mount it in many places, but the bed of the truck seems like the safer and the less restrictive place. I've seen them mounted under the truck, in the bed of the truck. I've seen them mounted on top of the roofs on some buses. The tank is covered up and all you see is a hump. In cars people put them simply in trunks altogether or where the spare tire sits. But then you have to deal with size, shielding and such. Just imagine that tank on that Silverado, it's big, it's cylinder shape. There is no way you could squeeze it under the truck with regular tank, driveshaft and exaust pipe being there. Regular tank can be shaped to fit the undercarrage, the cylinder can't. It needs to be shielded off and about 8 inches away from the exaust pipe. Plus, if you put something much smaller under there, than it's not worth having one at all, your range will suck and you'll be running on regular gas more than anything.
Dodge won't put regular tanks on their trucks at all and they still will install CNG in the bed of the truck together with 8-gallon gasoline tank.
I think, this is a great idea, but it will take a while before it catches on with average Joe. The fillup stations are not there. As of today there is less than 1000 in US. States like Utah have them everywhere, but state like North Dakota doesn't have one. But they are going to be a hit with fleet customers for sure.

I usually don't agree with Obama on much, but he is committed to R&D to greatly improve CNG engines and tanks. 3M has already committed to increasing capacity and reducing weight of tanks by 20%. You will see technology grow expodentially over the next decade when it comes to natural gas.

I have seen countless CNG Ram models roaming around my area, they are 1994-1997 years. they arent personal use trucks but they are City working trucks.

SOOOO, For you Furd boys; Dodge has had CNG prior to 1997

say what you want but my uncle is a supervisor for the City of Modesto in California, they have nothing but Dodge and Furds. and have like 15 old CNG RAMS. i believe the motor is a 5.9 and or 5.2.

they were conversions done by chrysler for the city of Modesto

This is great news for those GM fans who need a 3/4 ton HD and have ready access to CNG dispensers.

Although CNG cost less than gasoline or diesel it doesn't pack as much energy as gasoline or diesel and doesn't go as far.

Unless you have a huge CNG tank in the bed of the truck you'll find you need to refuel a lot more often than with either gasoline or diesel.

Still, for those who have access to CNG infrastructure this is good news.

I owned an Opel sedan during the seventies while stationed in Europe and it had both a CNG tank and a gas tank.

Cruising on the autobahn, whenever I ran out of CNG, flipping a lever switched to gasoline for an uninterrupted journey. The difference in power between gasoline and CNG was like night and day.

Maybe Ford, GM & Ram should see what CHINA wants to copy. Make it easy for them. NOT!
Tank has to be tough enough in the event of a rollover anyway.

without your tax dollars

GM's new incentive is you get a free combination plate of Chinese food+ an egg roll when you purchase a new HD model

Why use good floor space with LPG in Aust we have been fitting tanks under 2x4 & 4x4 for years, in some cases two smaller tanks up each side of the units, with no worries, Dose not cut down on people movers, or on truck carring space,I have driven a truck doing a run Brisbane to Cains two /drives,up and back with a Small CAT,fully load each way 30 tons pull like hell on the hills,diesel - Lpg mix and top fuel mileage, none stop each way.Total 45 hours,4000 KM. Refuled with diesel & Mackay on the return, LPG tank was under prime mover.

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