Chrysler to Sell Ram 2500 HD CNG Pickup Trucks
Chrysler’s Ram Truck division announced that it will be offering a compressed natural gas version of its Ram 2500 Heavy Duty pickup truck to fleet buyers starting in July.
The new Ram 2500 Heavy Duty CNG truck will be sold to commercial customers that operate truck fleets.
The Ram 2500 CNG is available exclusively as a Crew Cab 4x4 model with 169-inch wheelbase, in either an ST or SLT trim level. Pricing starts at $47,500, including $995 destination charge.
Chrysler is joining GM in the CNG game. General Motors also revealed plans this week to sell CNG-powered pickups through its Chevrolet and GMC brands.
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.
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 Ram 2500 Heavy Duty CNG's two ultra-strong 4.6 cu.-ft. (130-liter) CNG tanks are located in the forward portion of the Ram's 8-foot pickup bed. Both tanks are mounted to the frame and covered by a painted 50 ksi high-strength steel cover. The CNG filler connection is located next to the gasoline fuel neck, accessed through the Ram's fuel filler door.
The CNG tanks provide a gasoline gallon equivalent (GGE) of 18.2 gallons.
GGEs are calculated as having the same energy equivalent as one gallon of gasoline. CNG sold at filling stations in the U.S. is priced in dollars per GGE. A gasoline gallon equivalent of CNG is approximately 14.5 liters at 3600 psi.
At current prices, which are generally $1.25 less than the gallon equivalent of gasoline, CNG promises significant cost savings over the life of the truck.
The Ram 2500 CNG retains its heavy-duty capability: competent towing, payload hauling and outstanding acceleration for highway merging and passing.
Ram 2500 CNG offers 1,580 lbs. of payload, 4-ft.-8-in. usable bed length and 7,650 lbs. of towing capability.
The Ram 2500 is delivered ready-to-tow and standard equipment includes the integrated 4- and 7-pin connectors along with a Class IV hitch receiver. The Ram CNG also comes with a trailer brake controller with customer-programmable electric or electric-over-hydraulic trailer brake options.
Like every Ram 2500 Heavy Duty model, the 2012 Ram CNG's brake system reflects distinctive advantages, with huge, oversize 14-inch rotors and calipers to match. Front GAWR is rated up to 5,200 lbs. — ideal for northern climates requiring snow plow attachments.
A 5-year/100,000-mile powertrain limited warranty covers the HEMI V-8 and transmission, and adds internal engine components specific to CNG: the upgraded valves, the valve seats, fuel injectors and rail and the specially designed spark plugs — all part of the factory installed manufacturing and production processes.
Covering virtually every other aspect of the Ram 2500 CNG is a 3-year/36,000-mile bumper-to-bumper limited warranty. Specific to the CNG engineering, this covers all non-engine components, including the tanks, storage compartment and fuel filler equipment.
The company is currently taking fleet orders and expects to deliver the first vehicles in July 2012.
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