What’s in Print
The propanepowered cutaway is one of several alternative fueled vehicles that GM had on display

The propane-powered cutaway is one of several alternative fueled vehicles that GM had on display.

NTEA Truck Product Conference: Bi-fuel pickups lead way for GM


GM has added a full-size bi-fuel pickup truck to its fleet portfolio with the 2013 Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra 2500 HD extended cab trucks.

The vehicles include a compressed natural gas (CNG)-capable Vortec 6.0L V8 engine that seamlessly transitions between CNG and gasoline fuel systems. Combined, the trucks offer a range of more than 650 miles. The Silverado and Sierra will be available in standard and long box, with either two- or four-wheel drive.

The trucks are built in Fort Wayne, Indiana, and then sent to the Tier One supplier for installation of the CNG bi-fuel delivery and storage system, and the completed vehicle is delivered directly to the customer. This process makes ordering the bi-fuel option as seamless and efficient as a standard vehicle.

“It is a GM product, not an aftermarket product,” said Dan Tigges, full-size truck product manager at GM Fleet and Commercial. “GM has responsibility for the complete vehicle, including the CNG system. You'll order from our Chevrolet and GMC dealerships and they will do the warranty work.”

The bi-fuel commercial trucks will be covered by GM's three-year, 36,000-mile new vehicle limited warranty and five-year, 100,000-mile limited powertrain warranty and vehicle emissions warranty, meeting all Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and California Air Resources Board (CARB) emission certification requirements.

Chevrolet and GMC extended cab heavy-duty pickup trucks with a bi-fuel option will sell for $11,000 above the suggested base-vehicle price. Fleet and retail customers began placing orders for the 2013 Chevrolet Silverado HD and GMC Sierra 2500 HD April 19.

A single, lightweight Type 3 tank in the bed maximizes available payload and bed space, offering more usable space than competitors, Tigges said.

Tigges listed other new developments for 2013: 

• The LML 6.6L Duramax diesel with 397 hp and 765 ft-lb torque will replace the LGH 6.6L Duramax on pickups with RPO “ZW9” (box delete). The LML 6.6L Duramax diesel with 397 hp and 765 ft-lb torque will replace the LGH 6.6L Duramax on all chassis cabs.

• Increased front GAWR on gas chassis cabs.

“We are taking some components off the diesel-power truck—shocks and torsion bars—and putting them on the gas vehicle so we get a higher front GAWR. It came on the request of people who wanted to use our 3500 HD as a bucket truck. In a lot of cases, they were able to move from the F-450 into the 3500 HD. It saves money on the vehicle and on gas. We are requiring the GTY wide-track axle with that. It certainly makes sense for a bucket truck.”


GM has added a navigation radio, rear-vision camera, and ultrasonic rear park assist. The features are optional on LS and LT models.

The 1500 Series vans include light-duty models rated at 7300 pounds GVWR. The 2500 Series includes heavy-duty models rated at 8600 pounds GVWR. The heavy-duty 3500 Series includes full-bodied models rated at 9600 pounds GVWR with the 6.0L gas V-8 and 9900 pounds with the Duramax 6.6L diesel.

Standard and available features include: six-speed automatic transmissions; right-hand (driver-side) cargo doors; all-wheel drive; available 6.6L Duramax turbo-diesel engine with B20 biodiesel capability; available locking rear differential; trailer rating of up to 10,000 pounds on 2500 and 3500 models; StabiliTrak electronic stability control is standard on all models.

Savana Cargo models are also available with a dedicated compressed natural gas package.

To meet more stringent emissions requirements, the LGH Duramax was designed with EGR cooling system, along with revised turbocharger tuning that helps enhance EGR performance. It also has a large-capacity selective catalytic reduction system, that uses urea-based diesel (emission) exhaust fluid (DEF). The DEF is housed in a 5.83-gallon tank and needs to be replenished about every 5000 miles.

The Duramax also includes GM's second-generation diesel particulate filter system. The Duramax regenerates its diesel particulate filter using a downstream injection of diesel fuel directly into the exhaust stream and can travel up to 700 miles between regenerations — a 300-mile increase over the previous Duramax engine. The use of downstream injection also helps improve engine life by eliminating concerns surrounding the possibility of diesel fuel contaminating engine oil, which can happen when fuel used for regeneration is introduced directly into the cylinder.

The Duramax has microprocessor-controlled glow plugs capable of gas engine-like start performance in less than three seconds in temperatures as low as -20 degrees F, without a block heater. The engine has been developed to operate for at least 200,000 miles on a rough-duty cycle without the need for a major overhaul; and it is backed with a five-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty.

A fuel-operated heater (FOH) also is available for vans equipped with the Duramax 6.6L to quickly provide heat to the vehicle interior in cold weather. The seamlessly integrated system is designed into the Savana chassis, saving customers the time and labor of upfitting an aftermarket system. The electronically controlled, fuel-operated heater operates automatically, turning on and off within parameters that include outside air temperature, fuel level, coolant temperature and whether the engine is running. It features a self-contained, pressurized auxiliary coolant heater (with a surge tank) that uses diesel fuel to generate up to 17,200 Btu/h of heating energy.

GMC Savana offers a choice of five gas/FlexFuel engines. The base engine for light-duty is the 4.3L V-6 with multi-port fuel injection. It delivers 195 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque and features a central fuel injector that delivers a separate flow of fuel to six individual hybrid injectors for better performance and improved emissions.

A 4.8L V-8 is standard on some models and cranks out 280 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque, while other models are powered by the 5.3L V-8. It delivers 310 hp and 334 lb-ft of torque, providing segment-leading acceleration.

A FlexFuel E85 version of the 5.3L V-8 is available. It delivers the same horsepower and torque as its gasoline counterpart, while running on E85 ethanol fuel or a mixture of E85 and gasoline. E85 comprises 85 percent ethanol, a renewable fuel produced domestically.

Those seeking more power can opt for the 6.0L V-8, delivering 324 hp and 373 lb-ft of torque. A fast-idle option makes it easier to run accessories at a work site. The 6.0L is also offered in a special version with hardened valve seats for the available dedicated Compressed Natural Gas model.

All models feature an independent short-long arm (SLA) front suspension. A 33mm front stabilizer bar is featured on 1500-series models and a 35mm bar is used on 2500 and 3500 models. Two-stage, semi-elliptic multi-leaf springs are used in the rear suspension and help locate a semi-floating axle.

Chevrolet Express Cutaway

Joe Langhauser, product manager for GM vans and mobility, said the Cutaway offers customers and upfitters flexibility and durability, with three available wheelbases, single or dual rear wheels and three engine choices — including the powerful Duramax 6.6L turbo-diesel.

Highlights include: 139-inch, 159-inch, and 177-inch wheelbases; 4.8L and 6.0L gas V-8s with six-speed automatic transmission; Duramax 6.6L turbo-diesel V-8 with six-speed automatic transmission; dedicated liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) package (4500 models with 6.0L); four-wheel disc brakes with antilock; available locking rear differential (standard with YF2-code ambulance package); available OnStar with Turn-by-Turn navigation.

Special-equipment packages are available for ambulance, RV, shuttle bus, and school bus construction.

New for 2013 is an available navigation radio, as well as rear-vision camera system. It is shipped ready to be installed and includes the camera, cable and inside mirror with camera display.

3500 models also offer higher GVWRs for 2013: 10,050 pounds and 10,100 pounds. The 4500 models' maximum GVWR remains 14,200 pounds.


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