To accommodate this growing segment, Chevrolet has announced a bi-fuel conversion kit for its Silverado 2500 HD and 3500 HD pickups that will allow them to operate on either gasoline or compressed natural gas at the flip of a switch. The conversion will be available on all bodystyles, although a dually option won't be available for 3500 HD buyers.
Chevy says the 6.0-liter V8 should churn out 301 horsepower and 333 pound-feet of torque running on CNG, compared to 360 ponies and 380 lb-ft on petrol. Regardless of fuel source, towing capacity remains at 13,000 pounds when properly equipped. While it's easy to jump on the CNG model for its lower power output and spacial penalties for the CNG tank, natural gas is over 60-percent cheaper than gasoline as of this writing. According to Chevy, that's enough to allow a CNG-powered work truck that covers 26,000 miles per year to save its operators over $2,000 if natural gas is used 75-percent of the time. When taken in tandem, the bi-fuel trucks should have a range of up to 650 miles.
2500 HD double cabs and crew cabs are available at dealers now, while regular cabs and all 3500 HDs should hit dealers in July. There's no mention of pricing for the conversion at this point. Hop below for the official press release from Chevrolet.
Available, cleaner-burning CNG-capable 6.0L engine expands to all 2500HD and 3500HD cab styles
Can enable fuel-cost savings of more than $2,000 annually
OEM-validated CNG system covered by GM's factory powertrain limited warranty
CHICAGO – Chevrolet's expanded availability of bi-fuel versions of the new 2015 Silverado 2500HD and 3500HD trucks give customers and fleet managers more choices for cleaner-burning compressed natural gas-powered models – and savings at the pump.
With CNG currently priced about 62 percent less per gallon than gasoline, a work truck that driven 26,000 miles a year can save more than $2,000 annually based on 75-percent CNG usage and comparable efficiency to gasoline.
"With CNG capability to be offered on all Silverado HD cab configurations, customers have a wider range of choices when it comes to selecting the alternatively fueled truck that matches their needs," said Ed Peper, U.S. vice president, General Motors Fleet and Commercial. "And for companies and municipalities that maintain multiple trucks in their fleet, the fuel cost savings of CNG can really add up in a year."
The CNG option is available on all Silverado 2500HD configurations and Silverado 3500HD models with single rear wheels. The 2500HD double cab and crew cab models are on sale now, with 2500HD regular cab and all 3500HD models going on sale in July.
With the additional driving range enabled by a separate CNG tank, Silverado HD bi-fuel models have a total range of up to 650 miles, meaning less time needed for fill-ups. When equipped with a 4.10 axle ratio, the maximum conventional trailering rating is 13,000 pounds on gas or CNG.
GM warrants and validates the fuel systems of the 2015 Silverado HD bi-fuel trucks. GM's five-year/100,000-mile powertrain limited warranty covers CNG fuel systems. All major components associated with the CNG system also carry GM service part numbers, for availability throughout the largest dealer network in the United States. That's not the case with some other manufacturers' available bi-fuel trucks.
"Silverado bi-fuel pickups are available through any of Chevrolet's more than 3,000 dealerships across America just like any other model," said Peper. "It's one of the industry's most seamless integration of OEM-delivered CNG vehicles."
The unique version of the 6.0L engine – identified by an LC8 engine code – features special hardened valves and valve seats that enable it to run on CNG or gasoline. It is rated at 360 horsepower (268 kW) and 380 lb-ft of torque (515 Nm) on gas, and 301 horsepower (225 kW) and 333 lb-ft of torque (452 Nm) on CNG.
A separate CNG fuel tank enables the driver to switch between fuels at the flip of a switch. When the CNG tank is depleted, the system automatically switches to gasoline. GM's tier-one supplier installs the CNG fuel tank and complementing fuel system upgrades at a secondary location. Chevrolet dealers deliver the trucks as they would with any optional content.
CNG is cleaner burning than conventional gasoline or diesel. Today, most of the natural gas used in the U.S. comes from domestic or other North American sources. Depending on their usage habits, many customers can recoup the incremental investment in CNG vehicles within a few years, and the lower fuel cost enables a significant reduction in daily operating costs.
New Silverado HDs
The new 2015 Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD and 3500HD are engineered to be stronger and smarter than before, delivering the capability heavy-duty truck customers demand, with greater refinement for more comfort and confidence on the job and on the road.
Silverado 2500HD and 3500HD models come in Work Truck (WT), LT and LTZ trims, and are offered in regular cab, double cab and crew cab configurations. The regular cab comes only in WT and LT trims. The new double cab model replaces the previous extended cab and features forward-hinged rear doors, which allow easier access to the back seat, especially in tight parking spaces.
The trucks are available with all-new, stronger 6'6"and 8' cargo boxes with standard CornerStep bumpers, EZ Lift-and-Lower tailgates, and other features to ease cargo handling. Available updates for 2015 include:
All new cabs and interiors with increased comfort and extensive storage space tailored to the way customers use full-size trucks.
Chevrolet MyLink, which provides powerful connectivity for work or family with simple, intuitive controls
Integrated cruise control and Auto Grade Braking to help make trailering easier
Standard StabiliTrak with Trailer Sway Control on all models, including 3500HD duallys.
Models equipped with CNG system add cargo tie-downs on the tank cover and a single fuel gauge that displays fuel levels for gasoline and CNG.
Safety features such as Forward Collision Alert, Lane Departure Warning with an Active Safety Seat, and Front and Rear Park Assist are available on the 2015 Silverado HD. Head-curtain and seat-mounted side airbags are standard on 2500 models and available on 3500 models.
Founded in 1911 in Detroit, Chevrolet is now one of the world's largest car brands, doing business in more than 140 countries and selling more than 4.9 million cars and trucks a year. Chevrolet provides customers with fuel-efficient vehicles that feature spirited performance, expressive design, and high quality. More information on Chevrolet models can be found at www.chevrolet.com.