According to a report from Bloomberg, Chrysler will open sales of its Ram 2500 CNG to retail customers, a policy of which dealers were informed in September. This makes Chrysler and Honda the only two automakers in the U.S. market with natural gas vehicles available for full retail sale. Ford and General Motors offer bi-fuel versions of their full-size trucks, but the conversions are by a third-party outfitter, and are targeted primarily to municipal, commercial, and utility fleets. The Ram CNG is built on the same line as the other Ram 2500 models in Saltillo, Mexico.

Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne has been outspoken in his advocacy of natural gas as an alternative fuel, as well as his disdain for the current state of electric vehicles and hybrids from an economic standpoint. Peter Grady, vice president of network development and fleet, cited strong dealer demand for the CNG truck, especially in states with a well-developed fueling infrastructure, such as California, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Texas, Ohio, and Pennsylvania.

Fiat is dominant in its home market of Italy in sales of natural gas and propane vehicles, having 90 percent of the market. Through August of this year, sales of CNG and propane vehicles in Italy jumped to 11.6 percent of total vehicle sales from just 4.9 percent the year before.

Unlike the Ford and GM bi-fuel models that have full-size gasoline fuel tanks in addition to CNG capacity, the Ram CNG only has a small 8-gallon gasoline tank as a range extender, relying primarily on CNG fuel for most of its range.

Source: Bloomberg