Chevrolet To Boast More Biodiesel-Capable Vehicles Than Any Other Brand

General Motors is adding to its list of B20-capable vehicles for fleet, commercial and retail customers interested in cleaner, diesel-powered vehicles.

During the National Biodiesel Conference, John Schwegman, director of commercial product and medium duty for GM Fleet, announced GM will add the B20-capable cars and crossovers, and offer the industry’s most expansive lineup of diesel-powered vehicles this year.

That biodiesel-capable vehicle lineup includes Chevrolet Express full-size vans; Silverado HD full-size pickups; the Colorado midsize pickup; Low Cab Forward commercial truck; 2017 Cruze compact car; and the 2018 Equinox compact crossover SUV.

The Chevrolet Cruze diesel will be rolling out this spring in both sedan and hatchback versions. It will come with a 1.6-liter turbo-diesel engine and the choice of a standard 6-speed manual or 9-speed automatic transmission; it’s expected to do better than the 46 mpg EPA-estimated highway fuel economy of the previous-edition Cruze diesel. Rumors are it could actually gain a 50 mpg rating by the EPA.

The 2018 Chevy Equinox diesel will go on sale this summer, and will probably be the first ever diesel-powered compact crossover sold in North America. GM thinks it will have 40 highway mpg, but EPA estimates haven’t come out yet.

On the fleet and commercial side, the 2017 Silverado HD comes with a redesigned Duramax 6.6-liter V8 turbo-diesel capable of 445 horsepower. Next year, a new Class 4/5 conventional cab truck with a diesel engine will roll out, which is being developed jointly with Navistar.

“With biodiesel production and retail distribution expanding, and so many proven benefits, we believe more fleets will embrace the technology as part of their sustainability plans,” Schwegman said. “If our diesel customers fueled exclusively with B20, we estimate that consumption of petroleum-based fuels could be reduced by hundreds of millions gallons annually.”

GM has stayed committed to diesel-powered vehicles as the industry faces a backlash from the Volkswagen diesel emissions scandal. That controversy has brought in other automakers, most recently Fiat Chrysler Automobiles.

Last week, the EPA accused FCA of illegally using hidden software to allow excess diesel emissions to go undetected. That decision draws in about 104,000 diesel vehicles including 2014 to 2016 Jeep Grand Cherokees and Dodge Ram 1500 trucks with 3-liter diesel engines sold in U.S.

GM Fleet is promoting the diversity and benefits of the diesel offering. Diesel power is ideal for towing and hauling big loads. The Cruze and Equinox “can deliver hybrid-like highway fuel economy with less complexity and driving range that can top 500 miles on the highway,” Schwegman said.

“Diesel propulsion deserves wider consideration by fleet managers across the country,” he said.


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