Natural Gas – Conversions, Vehicles and Technology

CNG Process for GM’s Full-Size Vans Nears Completion

July 15, 2010

General Motors has finalized the production process for its compressed natural gas (CNG) powered Chevrolet Express and GMC Savana full-size vans, allowing the company to deliver fleet customers complete vehicles with a fully integrated and dedicated CNG fuel system starting this fall.

GM announced in May that it would be the only manufacturer to offer a one-source van CNG option, allowing its customers to focus on their business rather than on contracting the conversion of their vehicles.

"Our focus from the beginning has been to offer fleet customers a simple 'check the box' approach with our CNG Chevrolet Express and Savana vans," said Brian Small, general manager, GM fleet and commercial operations. "Our robust production process is a key enabler and certainly separates us from any competitive offering."

The vans will meet all Environmental Protection Agency and California Air Resources Board emission certification requirements, and will be fully compliant with applicable motor vehicle safety standards.

Each CNG Chevrolet Express or GMC Savana van also will be covered by GM's three-year, 36,000-mile new vehicle limited warranty and five-year, 100,000-mile limited powertrain warranty.

GM's global powertrain and vehicle engineering centers are being leveraged to bring their global expertise in gaseous fuel systems together for this vehicle system.

Providing fleets with a convenient, all-in-one CNG vehicle begins with GM's Vortec 6.0L V8 engine. GM engineers modified this proven power plant with hardened exhaust valves, and intake and exhaust valve seats for improved wear resistance and durability with gaseous fuel systems.

These hardened engines will then be assembled into the Chevrolet Express and GMC Savana vans at GM's Wentzville, Mo. plant. 

In addition, GM has chosen Productive Concepts (PCI), an alternative fuels conversion company, to become an integral part of its production. PCI will integrate the CNG fuel delivery and storage system with the hardened engine at its facility in Union City, Ind. PCI also will work to ensure full emissions compliance.

Once the CNG system is integrated into the vans at PCI, they can be shipped to many specialty vehicle manufacturers to have commercial equipment added, or directly to GM dealers.

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