AUBURN HILLS — Today, Ram Truck announced it will become the only manufacturer in North America to offer a factory-built compressed natural gas-powered (CNG) pickup truck.
The Ram 2500 Heavy Duty CNG pickup is designed for fleet and commercial customers and offers cost and emissions benefits, using an abundant, domestically sourced fuel while reducing America’s dependence on foreign oil.
“Commercial customers are extremely important to Ram Truck,” said Fred Diaz, Ram Truck President and CEO Ram Truck Brand and Chrysler de Mexico – Chrysler Group LLC. “Adding a hard-working, fully capable CNG-powered truck to the Ram lineup makes a lot of sense – both economically and environmentally.”
“Our commercial fleet customers have been asking us to build a CNG powered Ram,” said Peter Grady, Vice President, Network Development and Fleet – Chrysler Group LLC. “These fleets have already developed their own fleet fueling infrastructure for CNG, and are strong proponents of the technology.”
The Ram HD CNG is powered by the 5.7-liter HEMI® V-8 and features both compressed gas storage tanks and an 8-gallon gasoline fuel tank. Canadian customers can opt for a 35-gallon gasoline tank.
“Compressed natural gas is a widely accepted fuel in the U.S., Europe and Asia,” said Robert E. (Bob) Lee, Vice President and Head of Engine and Electrified Propulsion Engineering — Chrysler Group LLC. “As a fuel, CNG is readily available, well-suited to run in our 5.7-liter HEMI engine and is clean-burning with a low environmental impact. In fact, CNG demonstrates a reduction of 70 to 90 percent of smog-producing pollutants and significantly reduces greenhouse gas emissions.”
The Ram’s 5.7-liter HEMI bi-fuel engine has been modified to run on compressed natural gas as well as gasoline. Redesigned cylinder heads with specifically designed CNG compatible valves and valve-seat materials allow the engine to burn both fuels. It also gets a second, CNG-specific fuel rail and set of injectors. New spark plugs improve combustion and durability, and a new powertrain control module allows the HEMI to seamlessly operate on either of the two fuel sources.
The Ram 2500 CNG system was fully engineered and tested by Chrysler Group and assembled at the company’s Heavy Duty truck plant in Saltillo, Mexico.
In use, the system is automatic; eliminating operator switches altogether and utilizes either CNG or gasoline, transitioning from one to the other with little discernible difference in operation or capability.
Although a small amount of gasoline is used during engine startup, the Ram CNG runs exclusively on compressed natural gas. If the CNG tanks are emptied, the vehicle will automatically switch to gasoline. In addition to a conventional gasoline fuel gauge, a second CNG-specific gauge sits adjacent to it in the instrument cluster. CNG-only range is estimated to be 255 miles, while the backup supply of gasoline extends the range to 367 total miles.
The company is currently taking fleet orders and expects to deliver the first vehicles in July 2012.