Chicago goes green, buys 80 natural gas Chevrolets for city fleet

The city of Chicago has ordered 80 natural gas-powered vans and trucks from Advantage Chevrolet in Hodgkins, Ill. The contract awarded by the city asks Advantage to supply one of America's largest urban centers with up to 40 compressed natural gas-powered Chevrolet Express vans and up to 40 CNG-powered Chevy Silverado pickup trucks.

"The dedicated CNG fuel systems will be installed on the Chevrolet Express Vans at IMPCO Automotive's state-of-the-art alternative fuels conversion plant in Union City, Ind., in conjunction with our partnership with General Motors," said Jay Sandler, director of OEM and Fleet Sales for IMPCO Automotive, a designer, manufacturer and supplier of alternative fuel components and systems for use in transportation applications.

Fuel systems for the Silverados will be installed by IMPCO Automotive's Certified Installation Partner, Auto Truck Group, in Bartlett, Ill., Sandler said.

General Motors Co., Chevrolet's parent company, produced 16,000 natural gas-powered vehicles last year for commercial and municipal fleets. The Chevy Express vans it manufactures use 6.0-liter Vortec V8 engines accompanied by "hardened exhaust valves and intake/exhaust valve seats" to process the fuel. The vans get between 200 to 300 miles, depending on how many tanks are on the vehicle. Expresses typically come with three or four fuel tanks, according to a GM Fleet and Commercial Web page that markets the vans.

"Advantage Chevrolet is pleased to be able to supply these environmentally friendly vehicles to the city of Chicago to help reduce the amount of particulate emissions and Nitrous Oxide being emitted into the Chicagoland atmosphere," said Rick Zureick, sales manager at Advantage Chevrolet.

IMPCO's sales manager says such vehicles improve the environment.

"We are proud the city of Chicago will utilize our dedicated CNG fuel systems to convert its expanding fleet of popular General Motors trucks and vans from gasoline to CNG," said Rob Lykins, IMPCO Automotive director of sales & marketing.

"Our innovative CNG conversion systems enable fleet operators as well as individual vehicle owners to significantly lower their vehicle operating costs and reduce emissions while reducing our country's reliance on foreign oil."

There is a big picture, says Rick Nielsen, IMPCO's president.

"IMPCO continues to aggressively invest in future growth opportunities in North America by bolstering our automotive business with innovative new products that position us as the leader in the emerging U.S. natural gas vehicle market," Nielsen said.

You can reach TN's Hawke Fracassa at [email protected] Or follow him on Twitter @HawkeFracassa.

Image source: GM

Subscribe to Torque News on YouTube.

Follow Torque News on YouTube, Twitter and Facebook.