Here comes the natural gas-powered Ram.
The first Ram 2500 Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) pickup trucks began rolling off the line yesterday, Monday Oct. 29, at Chrysler Group’s Satillo Truck Assembly Plant.
At the same time, the company announced that the formerly fleet-only vehicle will now be available to retail customers.
“We felt there was a strong likelihood that customer demand would allow us to offer the Ram 2500 CNG to retail, as well as fleet buyers,” said Fred Diaz, president and CEO – Ram Truck Brand and Chrysler de Mexico, Chrysler Group LLC. “From the moment we unveiled the Ram CNG, dealers – particularly those near CNG refueling infrastructure – strongly encouraged us to bring CNG to their stores. We’re pleased that today Ram can deliver on that demand.”
The Chrysler Group stated in a release the 2012 Ram 2500 CNG is the only OEM-built compressed natural gas-powered pickup truck in North America.
The Ram 2500 CNG is actually a bi-fuel vehicle that uses both compressed natural gas and regular unleaded gasoline. Natural gas is used as its primary fuel source, but the fuel management system switches automatically to gasoline when the CNG tanks are emptied.
Chrysler says that in use, the Ram CNG transitions from one fuel to the other with little discernible difference in operation or capability.
CNG-powered trucks offer cost and emissions benefits, said Chrysler, adding that CNG lessens the environmental impact of greenhouse gas and reduces smog-producing pollutants up to 90 percent.
Chrysler says CNG achieves nearly identical mileage figures as unleaded regular gasoline – with a retail cost more than 30 percent lower than the average price of a gallon of gasoline.
The Ram HD CNG is powered by the 5.7-liter HEMI V-8 and in addition to its compressed gas storage tanks it offers a choice of 8- or 35-gallon gasoline fuel tanks.
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.
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 301 miles highway, while the backup supply of gasoline extends the range to 966 total miles. The CNG tanks provide a gasoline gallon equivalent (GGE) of 18.2 gallons.
The Ram 2500 CNG offers 1,580-pounds of payload capability, 4-foot-8-inches usable bed length and 7,650 pounds of towing capability. For those living in areas where snow is a concern, front GAWR is rated up to 5,200 pounds, allowing for the use of snow plow attachments.