DETROIT - General Motors announced it will offer fleets compressed natural gas (CNG) and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) powered versions of the Chevrolet Express and GMC Savana full-size vans later this year.
"We're listening to our fleet customers and dealers about offering options that help them achieve their business objectives", said Brian Small, general manager of GM's fleet and commercial operations. "The industry commitment to expand the CNG and LPG infrastructure in key fleet markets was an enabler to allowing us to introduce these options now."
Richard Kolodziej, president of NGVAmerica, called the news "exceptional."
"The U.S. fleet market is demanding natural gas vehicles, and GM is responding. It is just another indication of the growing strength of the natural gas vehicles (NGV) market," Kolodziej said in a statement. "NGVAmerica stands ready to work with GM and any other original equipment manufacturers to expand the number of available NGV vehicles," he added.
GM's proven Vortec 6.0L V8 engine receives hardened exhaust valves and intake and exhaust valve seats for improved wear resistance and durability for gaseous fuel systems, according to the automaker. Along with dedicated gaseous fuel injection and fuel storage systems, both the CNG and LPG systems are fully integrated into the vehicle, and will meet EPA and CARB certification requirements, and be fully compliant with applicable motor vehicle safety standards.
The initial CNG offerings will be available on 2011 model-year cargo vans and built at GM's Wentzville assembly plant with the specialized Vortec engine installed. The vans are then completed at a separate facility with the dedicated gaseous fuel system and related vehicle calibrations before shipment.
Both CNG and LPG vans will carry GM's limited new vehicle warranty including the 5-year/100,000 mile transferable GM powertrain limited warranty.
A dedicated LPG gaseous fuel system will be offered on 2011 model-year cutaway vans to fleet and commercial customers. The cutaways are then configured into cube, delivery, and shuttle bus vans depending upon the customer's final requirements.
These new additions will add to GM's current fleet lineup of more than 17 E-85-capable and five hybrid models.