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Ram 2500 HD to be first CNG pickup truck available directly from the manufacturer

Ram Truck unveiled the new Ram 2500 Heavy Duty CNG pickup truck at the National Truck Equipment Association show, making the Chrysler subsidiary the first pickup truck in North America available direct from the manufacturer as a compressed natural gas bi-fuel truck.

The Ram 2500 will be the first factory-built compressed natural gas (CNG) powered bi-fuel pickup truck. The trucks can run on both CNG and gasoline, giving them flexibility in the field. They are to be marketed to fleet and commercial customers with emphasis on their cost and emissions benefits. Peter Grady, Vice President, Network Development and Fleet for Chrysler Group LLC, says that commercial fleet customers have been asking for a CNG-powered truck and after analyzing fleet sales and customer needs, the Crew Cab 4x4 2500 Heavy Duty was chosen as the best option for the majority of potential buyers.

The Ram HD CNG utilizes the company's 5.7-liter HEMI V-8 modified to run on both CNG and gasoline. The gasoline tank on the truck was reduced to 8 gallons to make room for the CNG tanks (a pair of 4.6 cubic foot / 130-liter cylinders), though a 35-gallon gasoline option will be made available in Canada. An additional fuel gauge for the natural gas was added and automatic switching, making the swap from CNG to gasoline and back seamless, was also incorporated. CNG-only range is estimated at about 255 miles (18.2 gasoline gallon equivalent / GGE) with gasoline itself adding over 100 miles more.

The trucks will be built at Chrysler's Heavy Duty Truck plant in Saltillo, Mexico. The HEMI engine was modified to accept both fuels through redesigned cylinder heads, adding CNG-compatible valves and seats along with the natural gas-only fuel rails and injectors. Upgraded spark plugs improve combustion and durability and the powertrain control module was updated to operate both fuel options and engine performance under them.

The truck starts using gasoline, pre-heating the engine before switching to natural gas. Output, torque, and other capabilities are the same between fuels. For safety, the tanks are mounted midway along the frame, under the forward portion of the bed, and covered by a painted high-strength steel cover. The filler connection for CNG is located next to the gasoline fuel neck and accessed through the same fuel filler door. This makes fill-ups of one or both fuels easy for the operator.

The Ram 2500, whether in it's mono-fuel gasoline or bi-fuel CNG-gasoline option, has a 1,580 pound payload capacity, 7,650 pound towing capability and its bed is 4-feet, 8 inches in length (usable). Oversized 14-inch rotors and calipers make for maximum payload braking power. The Ram 2500's GAWR is up to 5,200 pounds, allowing it to utilize snow plows and other front-mounted attachments. The truck has a 5-year, 100,000 mile powertrain limited warranty and a 3-year, 36,000 mile bumper-to-bumper warranty.

Pricing for the Ram 2500 Heavy Duty CNG starts at $47,500, including destination charge. The equivalent Ram 2500 Crew Cab 4x4 in gasoline-only starts at $33,300 (base) and $41,095 (base) for turbo-diesel.