General Motors has declared that it will build Chevrolet Impala sedans capable of running on either gasoline or compressed natural gas, giving the ability to travel up to 500 miles between fuel stops.
GM Chairman and CEO Dan Akerson announced the vehicle at an energy summit moarking the 40th anniversary of the OPEC Oil Embargo. It will be the only manufacturer-produced, full-sized bi-fuel sedan when it goes on sale next summer as a 2015 model for both fleet and retail customers.
“We know that U.S. energy security won’t come from a one-off moonshot,” Akerson said. “It will flow from our systematic investment in technology and innovation… our drive to get more from existing energy sources and renewables… our commitment to conservation… and it will be assured by fully and safely exploiting our shale gas reserves.”
The Impala’s bi-fuel drivetrain eliminates the range anxiety felt by drivers of CNG or other alternative energy vehicles. The factory-engineered and fully warranted powertrain will switch seamlessly from bi-fuel to gasoline, removing the possible stress of finding a place to fill up on CNG.
According to Forbes, CNG produces about 20 percent less carbon dioxide than gasoline powered vehicles. It’s also significantly cheaper than gasoline, selling for an average of $2.11 and for as low as $1 in some parts of the United States.
GM did not announce pricing for the 2015 Bi-Fuel Impala just yet, though it is expected to carry a premium over standard Impala models. Regardless, the fuel savings could be enough to offset the investment.