Compressed natural gas (CNG) has long been popular with commercial feet owners, but the lack of a widespread refueling infrastructure in the U.S. poses some headaches. General Motors hopes a new bi-fuel option for the 2013 Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra HD pickup trucks may help fill that void.
This isn’t General Motors’ first full-size pickup that’s capable of running on both CNG and gasoline (such a vehicle was offered in the late 1990s), but it is the first developed from the company’s current GMT900 range of trucks. The bi-fuel option modifies the existing 6.0-liter V-8 engine so that it can run on CNG. According to GM, the transition from gasoline to CNG is seamless, and using both fuels allows a Silverado/ Sierra 2500 HD to have a total range of about 650 miles.
Ordering a bi-fuel Silverado and Sierra is a lot like ordering any other full-size General Motors pickup, although some options are restricted. All Bi-fuel trucks will be extended cab models equipped with the 6.0-liter V-8 and a six-speed automatic transmission. Customers will be able to specify two- or four-wheel drive, 2500 or 3500 model range, and bed length. Seeing as the CNG tanks eat up a bit of cargo space within the bed, we’d recommend opting for the longer eight-foot bed.
All 2013 bi-fuel Silverado and Sierra models will be built within GM’s assembly plant in Fort Wayne, Indiana, but the addition of the CNG fueling system will be performed off-site by a tier-one supplier. Despite this, GM says the completed vehicle — CNG system and all — will be covered by the standard 3-year/36,000-mile warranty, along with its 5-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty.