General Motors announced today that its new lineup of heavy duty pickups will be available with a Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) bi-fuel option, meaning that the 2015 Chevrolet Silverado HD and GMC Sierra HD will be able to run on either CNG or gasoline when equipped with the CNG package. The previous-generation Silverado and Sierra were available with a similar system that was introduced last year.
The CNG kit, which consists of a special CNG fuel tank and fuel system, is installed by an external supplier, but the vehicles will be fully covered by GM’s warranty and sold through Chevrolet and GMC dealerships. The 6.0-liter V-8 is slightly modified to run on CNG, with tweaks including hardened valves and valve seats. Drivers of the CNG pickups will be able to switch between CNG and gasoline, and when the CNG tank runs out the system switches automatically to gasoline. With gasoline and CNG combined, the total range of the trucks will be approximately 650 miles.
In gasoline-only versions of the 2015 Chevrolet Silverado HD and GMC Sierra HD, the 6.0-liter V-8 makes 360 hp and 380 lb-ft of torque, but there is no word on whether the CNG kit will affect these numbers. GM does say that the CNG kit will be available on all 2500HD and 3500HD regardless of cab configuration or drivetrain. Ford and Ram offer CNG kits on their pickups including the Ford F-150 and Ram 2500, and the Ford E-Series full-size van also can be had with a CNG prep package. Ford will also be offering a CNG prep package for the 2014 Ford Transit van and Transit Connect compact cargo van.
The 2014 Chevrolet Express and GMC Savana full-size vans also gain a CNG package option, but without the bi-fuel capability of the HD trucks. These vans feature the same CNG-capable 6.0-liter V-8, with cargo versions available with three or four CNG tanks and 15-passenger versions available only in the three tank configuration. Four tank models will have a range of around 300 miles, and the three tank version drops that number to about 200 miles.
These CNG vehicles will go into production early next year, and GM says that orders will be accepted closer to the start of production.