This week is starting off with big announcements for truck fans. Monday, General Motors announced the addition of the bi-fuel 2013 Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra 2500 HD pickups to its stable. Now, Chrysler has an announcement of its own: the new Ram 2500 Heavy Duty CNG pickup.
But, unlike the GM twins, the Ram 2500 Heavy Duty CNG pickup was developed in-house by Chrysler and will be built at its Heavy Duty truck plant in Saltillo, Mexico. Chrysler says the Ram 2500 Heavy Duty CNG pickup was designed for fleet and commercial customers because it's cleaner burning and less expensive compared to conventional gasoline.
All Ram 2500 Heavy Duty CNG pickups are powered by Chrysler's 5.7-liter Hemi V-8 that has been modified to run on both conventional gasoline and compressed natural gas. New valves and valve-seat materials have been added to the redesigned cylinder heads -- a move necessary to allow the engine to run on both compressed natural gas and conventional gasoline. It also gains an additional fuel rail and injectors for the compressed natural gas. Finally, new spark plugs and a new engine management computer monitor the engine when running either fuel.
Two 4.6 cubic-foot (130-liter) CNG tanks reside in the front of the Ram 2500 Heavy Duty CNG pickup's eight-foot bed. Combined, the two natural gas tanks capacity equal a gasoline equivalent of 18.2 gallons. The tanks are mounted to the frame and covered by a steel cover. The Ram 2500 Heavy Duty CNG pickup has a range of 255 miles on compressed natural gas and an additional 122 miles thanks to the eight-gallon gasoline tank, for a total range of 367 miles. The fuel filler door hides both the CNG filler connection and the gasoline fuel neck.
The Ram 2500 Heavy Duty CNG uses a small amount of gasoline on initial start up but switches over to compressed natural gas. When the compressed natural gas tanks are depleted the engine computer seamlessly transitions to conventional gasoline.
The Ram 2500 Heavy Duty CNG powertrain components -- including the CNG-specific parts -- are covered by a 5-year/50,000 mile powertrain warranty. The rest of the truck carries a 3-year/36,000 mile bumper to bumper warranty, which includes the compressed natural gas tanks, storage compartment and fuel filler equipment.