• Image Credit: Chevrolet
  • Image Credit: Chevrolet
  • Image Credit: Mark Finkenstaedt for General Mo
  • Image Credit: Chevrolet
  • Image Credit: Chevrolet
  • Image Credit: Chevrolet
  • Image Credit: Chevrolet
  • Image Credit: Chevrolet
  • Image Credit: Chevrolet
  • Image Credit: Chevrolet
  • Image Credit: Chevrolet
  • Image Credit: Chevrolet
  • Image Credit: Chevrolet
  • Image Credit: Chevrolet
As we suspected back in May based on spy shots, Chevrolet is adding a bi-fuel version of the tenth-generation Chevy Impala that can run on both regular gasoline and compressed natural gas (CNG). Unveiled today in Washington, D.C. by General Motors CEO Dan Akerson, the new bi-fuel Impala will be offered to both retail and fleet customers, and Chevy points out that it is the only manufacturer-produced, fullsize bi-fuel sedan in North America. Outside suppliers offer add-on CNG kits, but this new Impala joins the Honda Civic as a very rare CNG car to come straight from a major automaker and available for retail sales.

While there were no specs, pricing or on-sale date announced along with the car, the bi-fuel 2015 Chevrolet Impala will have a 500-mile driving range, and it will allow the driver to switch between CNG and gasoline at the push of a button. The large CNG tank takes up a good portion of the trunk, but for drivers living in areas where CNG is readily available, this should be a minor tradeoff for the lower prices and lowered emissions. A press release is posted below, but more details about the car should become available closer to when it goes on sale.
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Akerson Announces Bi-Fuel Chevrolet Impala Sedan
2013-10-16

-GM to offer only manufacturer-produced full-size bi-fuel sedan in North America
-Designed to capitalize on plentiful clean, domestic natural gas
-Will be sold to retail and fleet buyers as a 2015 model
-CEO repeats call for consumer-driven national energy policy

WASHINGTON, D.C. – General Motors will build a Chevrolet Impala sedan for retail and fleet customers that operates on either gasoline or compressed natural gas (CNG), GM Chairman and CEO Dan Akerson announced today.

It is the only manufacturer-produced full-size bi-fuel sedan and expected to go on sale next summer as a 2015 model. Akerson announced the car during remarks at an energy summit marking the 40th anniversary of the OPEC Oil Embargo.

"OPEC Oil Embargo + 40: A National Summit on Energy Security," was sponsored by the nonpartisan group Securing America's Future Energy, or SAFE. Prominent political, business and military leaders assessed the current state of America's oil dependence since the 1973 oil embargo

Akerson said the bi-fuel Impala is an example of using affordable technology to reduce oil consumption and save consumers money at the pump.

"We know that U.S. energy security won't come from a one-off moonshot," Akerson said. "It will flow from our systematic investment in technology and innovation... our drive to get more from existing energy sources and renewables... our commitment to conservation... and it will be assured by fully and safely exploiting our shale gas reserves."

Natural gas is a cleaner-burning transportation fuel compared to petroleum products, and costs significantly less than gasoline at current prices. CNG vehicles typically have 20 percent fewer greenhouse gas emissions than gasoline-powered cars, according to the California Air Resources Board.

The Chevrolet Impala bi-fuel sedan addresses the range anxiety issue associated with vehicles that run only on natural gas, Akerson said. It features a factory-engineered and fully warranted powertrain that switches seamlessly from CNG to gasoline. Total range is expected to be up to 500 miles.

Akerson said that in addition to advanced technologies and alternative fuels, achieving energy security will require productive partnerships between energy companies, utilities, environmental groups, labor unions, universities and manufacturers.

GM, he said, is working closely with 14 of the country's largest unions and environmental groups through the Blue-Green Alliance, and has relationships with regulators that are "more constructive than ever."

Akerson also reiterated a call he made earlier this year for the Administration and Congress to create a new, consumer-driven national energy policy from a position of strength and abundance.

For its part, GM is committed to saving 12 billion gallons of gasoline in its 2011 to 2017 model year vehicles – offsetting nearly a year of crude imports from the Persian Gulf – with technologies that include lighter materials to reduce vehicle mass, alternative fuels, clean diesel and electrification.

In addition to the Chevrolet Volt, Chevrolet Spark EV and the upcoming Cadillac ELR, GM is introducing start-stop technology standard on the 2014 Chevrolet Malibu helping the midsize sedan achieve 25 mpg city/36 mpg highway, and using electrification to boost fuel economy in the Buick Regal and LaCrosse sedans, which both get EPA-estimated 36 mpg hwy.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 45 Comments
      mitytitywhitey
      • 1 Year Ago
      Eventually you'll start seeing CNG pumps next to diesel pumps at more truck stops. A lot of Cummins, Caterpillar and International Harvester engines are going CNG. Its not quite ready for primetime, but its inevitable that it will be as easy to fill up a CNG car as a Cruze diesel 10 years from now.
        Jerry
        • 1 Year Ago
        @mitytitywhitey
        Catch is that CNG's energy density is much lower than diesels. Spark ignition is less efficient than compression ignition also. CAT's gas engines have been around for decades. A T2 C32 can rattle off up to 1350 HP at 1800 RPM. The C32's natural gas cousin, the G3412 is only capable of about 600 HP at 1800 RPM. Gas engines also have terrible throttle response relative to their gasoline and diesel brethren. None of the big Diesel engine manufacturers are putting their CNG engines in on-highway vehicles and heavy equipment for these reasons. Dedicated CNG engines are great for stationary power like generators, pumps, compressors, etc. Diesel/CNG dual fuel engines have controllers that apply close to 100% diesel during heavy loading. They start pumping in CNG when loads are light and power is not needed (I.e. Unloaded at highway speeds) to reduce diesel usage. Some diesel is still in the mix because the diesel acts as a spark plug on the compression stroke. Generally speaking, these engines have much shorter rebuild intervals, cost more out of the gate, and really never save you as much fuel money as advertised. Because the fuel mix always contains diesel, you still have to have a complex exhaust after treatment system. It is just added complexity that does not save you much in the long run. If you look at the big picture, you probably spend more.
          mitytitywhitey
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Jerry
          Jerry, Your information is quite outdated. CAT is indeed working on high-hp gas-only engines to replace the dual-fuel engines, and the dual fuel WILL be in large mining trucks in less than 5 years. The really really big Cat mining trucks. Cummins already has a school bus engine sold as OEM for highway. once they reach better stoichiometric ratios than the old iron you ate quoting, gas engines see a 15-20% power loss compared to diesel-only. This means the customer might need to 'level-up' in terms of displacement. V12 vs V8, 32l vs 27l, etc. but other than the weight gain and higher purchase price, demand is there. Gas is being demanded as a complete replacement for diesel in all applications. .
        SloopJohnB
        • 1 Year Ago
        @mitytitywhitey
        I don't think it will be as easy as diesel, but it might be easier.
          SloopJohnB
          • 1 Year Ago
          @SloopJohnB
          Easier than it is now, NOT easier than diesel.
        Spec
        • 1 Year Ago
        @mitytitywhitey
        I think a lot of the major transit routes already have CNG pumps for trucks. I think light-duty passenger cars should go electric but for long-hauls and big trucks, it is hard to compete with the energy density of hydrocarbons. So for them, CNG is probably the best thing for now.
      SloopJohnB
      • 1 Year Ago
      This will sell like crazy in Utah.
      David Murray
      • 1 Year Ago
      I wish a manufacturer would build a really great car that runs on CNG. Not a conversion, but a purpose-built. Then sell it at a reasonable price that could compete with a gasoline car. I can't imagine any reason a CNG car should cost more to build than a gasoline car. It might even be cool to make the car a hybrid so that an electric motor could help make up for some of the lost power since engines burning CNG tend to have less power. Heck.. I'd even like to see something like a Chevy Volt that uses CNG as a backup fuel only. You wouldn't have to worry about it going stale if you drive on electric power 99% of the time.
        SteveG
        • 1 Year Ago
        @David Murray
        Honda sells such a car. The CNG Civic. It is not a hybrid though.
      JJ
      • 1 Year Ago
      How much ?
      Marcopolo
      • 1 Year Ago
      Using processed natural gas to power road transport may a new idea to the US, but to both GM and Ford's overseas divisions it's very old technology indeed. Although CNG, is less common than LPG, both natural gas derivatives have been in widespread use for over 40 years. Ford Australia has successfully produced large car and truck models which run on LPG and dual fuel LPG/Gasoline combinations for 35 years. There is no great mystery about the technology. Natural Gas derivatives are better for the environment than Gasoline/Diesel and Ethanol, but they're still fossil fuels. However, they do have the advantage of being domestically produced fossil fuel. CNG is ideal for Buses, taxi's, delivery fleets etc. Conversion of existing engines is relatively cheap, and if professionally installed can prove economically, and environmentally worthwhile.
      Walt
      • 1 Year Ago
      I realize that home CNG refueling stations are expensive, but the fuel saving would be significant. Also, how does the government collect road tax on fuel you source from your own home natural gas lines? I'm sure there is a form one must fill out to pay the road tax separately, but how many are going to bother with that? The savings might offset the $5000 for a home refueling station. Anybody have any data points on this?
        Mike
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Walt
        PG&E, my local utility has public CNG stations at their maintenance yards. You just need to get an access card by setting up a monthly billing account. Price is $2.25 per gas gallon equivalent. According to the pricing tariff, this price includes $0.08932/gge state tax and $0.183/gge federal tax. I don't know if the state tax is sales tax or road tax or both, but the federal one must be equivalent to the federal gas tax.
        Mike
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Walt
        See http://www.pge.com/myhome/environment/pge/cleanair/naturalgasvehicles/rates/
      muspod
      • 1 Year Ago
      Hopefully has a cng compressor on board. It would make it a low brainer.. I have cng at the house but to get in your car, A 5k compressor is needed.
      Seal Rchin
      • 1 Year Ago
      "Unveiled today in Washington, D.C. by General Motors CEO Dan Akerson"-------------This line should point out to all potential buyers that this is more of a political play, they want to show to politicos that they are making alternative fuel cars.
      Seal Rchin
      • 1 Year Ago
      There are 8 CNG stations in NYC Good luck refueling on regular basis. The only way this would work is if someone you can have it at home on with a cheap kit.
        DaveMart
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Seal Rchin
        If you have one reasonably near you then you use that most of the time, and switch to petrol if you go on a run and there are no CNG stations handy. We've been doing it for years in Europe, and it is no big deal. Its impractical if you don't have a CNG station near your home, but if you have you are good to go.
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Seal Rchin
        [blocked]
          Seal Rchin
          • 1 Year Ago
          I know that, but why would anyone buy it if in a such a large city there are only 8 stations.............that means smaller cities have no stations at all..............and that means you may as well buy a regular gas powered car, a Camry or an Accord preferably.
          • 1 Year Ago
          [blocked]
          • 1 Year Ago
          [blocked]
        rlog100
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Seal Rchin
        When they said \"bi-fuel\", they weren\'t referring to it sexual orientation.
      Dean Hammond
      • 1 Year Ago
      LOVE IT!
      danfred311
      • 1 Year Ago
      This is as clean as the conscience of oil companies. GM you filthy liars.
        taser it
        • 1 Year Ago
        @danfred311
        Oh look another account from Dan. Sheesh, how many times can you get kicked off a site already?
        mitytitywhitey
        • 1 Year Ago
        @danfred311
        Dan Frederiksen is going to get people to start recycling motor oil by dumping it in a bonfire. Respectful environmentalists provoke thought. Disrespectful environmentalists provoke retaliation, and sabotage their cause.
      groingo
      • 1 Year Ago
      Been around for decades, big problem is where to get CNG,,,only place you find it in the US is at bus barns and state or county fleet refueling, nothing for the individual.
        Dean Hammond
        • 1 Year Ago
        @groingo
        its been in my home country for 40 years, ive always wondered why its taken so long for someone other than Honda to jump on the wagon........
          Alfonso T. Alvarez
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Dean Hammond
          There have been various OEM's who have offered natural gas vehicles in the US at least a decade before Honda. The problem has always been market acceptance.
        Rob J
        • 1 Year Ago
        @groingo
        That seems to be the beauty of this model, there is just one CNG station not far from where I live, but being able to switch back to regular gas when you can't find one should make it a non-issue. Only corner for me is the cost of a duel system.
        Cory Stansbury
        • 1 Year Ago
        @groingo
        You can also potentially have home fueling stations for those who have natural gas in their home (like me). However, I believe those are rather expensive right now. Doesn't mean the cost can't come down in the future. They may not be fast, but they don't need to be if done overnight like a charger. That said, I bet this car costs $$$$. Only with subsidies will it likely make sense for the buyer. At least that's my guess. GM is free to prove me wrong.
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