Thursday, October 17, 2013

Chevrolet to offer Impala sedan that runs on gasoline and natural gas

Beginning next summer, Chevrolet will offer an Impala sedan that can run on either gasoline or cleaner and less expensive compressed natural gas (CNG). The full-size sedan will be available to retail and fleet buyers.
Set to go onl sale next summer, the bi-fuel Chevrolet Impala sedan can seamlessly switch from running on gasoline to CNG, or vice versa.
Chevrolet is pushing forward with its commitment to making CNG vehicles a viable option in the automotive marketplace.
Much like electric cars, one of the primary bugbears has been the limited driving range offered by CNG-only cars and trucks.
CNG-powered cars and trucks emit up to 20-percent fewer emissions than gas-powered vehicles.
Chevrolet’s solution is to offer a vehicle that can run on more than one fuel, in this case, a bi-fuel version of the current full-size Impala sedan. Set to go on sale next summer, as a 2015 model, the plan to offer this gas+CNG sedan was announced by GM’s CEO, Dan Akerson, during an energy summit marking the 40th anniversary of the OPEC Oil Embargo.
Many companies will retrofit cars to run on CNG. This Impala will be the first full-size, CNG-capable sedan offered by a major automaker, however.
That marked a turning point for the American auto industry, which scrambled to produce smaller, lighter and vastly more fuel-friendly vehicles. It also marked the ascendancy of foreign brands, such as Honda, Toyota, Datsun/Nissan and Volkswagen – all of whom had lineups full of economy-minded cars and trucks.
A button on the dash switches the Impala to CNG power.
GM’s Akerson said that “U.S. energy security won’t come from a one-off moonshoot,” but it can be aided and “assured by fully and safely exploiting our shale gas reserves.”
While the environmental impact of shale gas drilling is still hotly debated, there’s no arguing that CNG-powered vehicles are cleaner and more environmentally friendly.
CNG isn't quite a perfect solution. Sure it's cleaner and cheaper to buy, but the fuel tank takes a big chunk out of the Impala's available cargo space.
CNG vehicles have 20-percent fewer greenhouse gases than gas-powered cars, according to the California Air Resources Board. CNG is also much cheaper than gasoline, making it more attractive to car or truck buyers looking to go green and save cash in the process.
With the push of the button on the Impala’s dashboard, the engine will switch from gasoline to CNG power. Chevy estimates this provides for a total driving range of approximately 500 miles.
For comparison’s sake, the Honda Civic Natural Gas model (which is CNG-only) delivers an estimated 220 miles between fill-ups.
Chevrolet has not announced pricing, though we’d estimate it will fall towards the upper end of the Impala range – meaning a base price in the region of $33-35,000.