Ram Truck announced it will offer a factory-built compressed natural gas-powered (CNG) pickup truck for North America. The company is currently taking fleet orders and expects to deliver the first vehicles in July 2012.
The Ram 2500 Heavy-Duty CNG pickup is designed for fleet and commercial customers, according to the automaker. The Ram HD CNG is powered by the 5.7L HEMI V-8 and features both compressed gas storage tanks and an 8-gallon gasoline fuel tank. Canadian customers can opt for a 35-gallon gasoline tank.
The Ram’s 5.7L HEMI bi-fuel engine has been modified to run on compressed natural gas as well as gasoline. 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, and a new powertrain control module allows the HEMI to operate on either of the two fuel sources.
The Ram 2500 Heavy Duty CNG’s two 4.6 cu.-ft. (130-liter) CNG tanks are located in the forward portion of the Ram’s 8-foot pickup bed. Both tanks are mounted to the frame and covered by a painted 50 ksi high-strength steel cover. The CNG filler connection is located next to the gasoline fuel neck, accessed through the Ram’s fuel filler door.
The CNG tanks provide a gasoline gallon equivalent (GGE) of 18.2 gallons. CNG-only range is estimated to be 255 miles, while the backup supply of gasoline extends the range to 367 total miles.
The Ram 2500 CNG retains its heavy-duty capability: competent towing, payload hauling and outstanding acceleration for highway merging and passing. The truck offers 1,580 lbs. of payload, 4-ft.-8-in. usable bed length and 7,650 lbs. of towing capability.
The Ram 2500 is delivered ready-to-tow and standard equipment includes the integrated 4- and 7-pin connectors along with a Class IV hitch receiver. The Ram CNG also comes with a trailer brake controller with customer-programmable electric or electric-over-hydraulic trailer brake options.
Ram executives expect customers for the new Ram 2500 HD CNG to include telecommunications companies, public utilities, natural gas production firms and government agencies.
A five-year/100,000-mile powertrain limited warranty covers the HEMI V-8 and transmission, and adds internal engine components specific to CNG: the upgraded valves, the valve seats, fuel injectors and rail and the specially designed spark plugs — all part of the factory installed manufacturing and production processes.
Covering virtually every other aspect of the Ram 2500 CNG is a three-year/36,000-mile bumper-to-bumper limited warranty. Specific to the CNG engineering, this covers all non-engine components, including the tanks, storage compartment, and fuel filler equipment.
The Ram 2500 CNG system was fully engineered and tested by Chrysler Group and assembled at the company’s heavy-duty truck plant in Saltillo, Mexico.