Chrysler has finally confirmed that their initial plan of offering a pickup model that will be powered by compressed natural gas or CNG which was announced last January will finally be realized. This is because Chrysler’s assembling plant in Saltillo, Mexico has started building a number of Ram 2500 Heavy Duty pickups that are powered by compressed natural gas. Due to this, Chrysler is currently considered as the first and only car maker in North America who is involved in producing a factory-built pickup truck powered by CNG.
According to Chrysler, the company’s production of CNG-powered Ram 2500 Heavy Duty pickup involved a lot of planning and careful preparation. The company’s vehicle developers and engineers performed a lot of modifications on the current version of the Ram 2500 so as to allow this vehicle to run on CNG instead of gasoline.
First off, the company’s personnel used a 5.7-liter Hemi V-8 engine to power the truck. However, the engine was modified to allow this to effectively burn CNG. The modification prompted Chrysler to use different types of valves. In addition to this, the personnel involved in developing the vehicle have subjected the engine’s cylinder head to a major revision. They also installed a second fuel rail into the engine as well as used different types of injectors. When the engine upgrades were done and the company’s engineers were able to make sure that the engine is working wheel, they eventually proceeded to the installation of the other important components that would allow the Ram 2500 to deliver an impressive performance.
The company’s personnel have also installed two tanks that would serve as the storage area for the CNG. These tanks were mounted on the trucks bed which is about 8 feet long. The tanks were carefully bolted on the truck’s frame and each of these was covered by ultra-strong steel to ensure that these would not be damaged easily. The gasoline tank of the Ram 2500 was retained since this will still play a significant role on the vehicle’s running performance.
The gasoline tank was retained since the CNG-powered Ram 2500 was designed to automatically switch to gasoline mode when all of the CNG stored in their respective tanks are fully consumed. Chrysler estimates that the vehicle is capable of travelling up to 255 miles in CNG mode. As soon as the vehicle switches to gasoline mode, the maximum range is further extended to 367 miles.
Given this setup, the CNG-powered Ram 2500 is considered as a fuel efficient pickup truck since it consumes lesser amounts of gasoline. Since CNG is cheaper compared to gasoline, any buyer who would be purchasing this pickup could possibly earn a lot of savings from reduced fuel expenses. In addition to this, the CNG-powered pickup emits smaller amounts of harmful gases. On top of these, the Ram 2500 still retains its maximum towing capacity of up to 7,650 pounds.
Unfortunately, Chrysler has announced that the CNG-powered Ram 2500s are only aimed for fleet and commercial buyers. This is because only 50% of the 1,500 service stations that are selling CNG all over the US are open to the public. An individual owner would surely have a hard time in looking for sources of CNG making the vehicle more of a liability and not a useful asset.