While a majority of manufacturer working on their respective electric vehicle technology, General Motors is considering other resources as well. As per the latest announcement made by the auto giant, it will build a Chevrolet Impala for retail and fleet customers that will run on both gasoline and compressed natural gas (CNG).
With this, the new Chevrolet Impala will become the only manufacturer-produced full-size bi-fuel sedan and is expected to hit the dealerships next summer. The car will be sold as a 2015 model, announced GM Chairman and CEO Dan Akerson at the 40th anniversary of the OPEC Oil Embargo energy summit. The nonpartisan group Securing America’s Future Energy, or SAFE was the sponsor of the “OPEC Oil Embargo + 40: A National Summit on Energy Security,”.
Bi-fuel cars are meant to save consumer’s money by reducing the oil consumption and the new Impala does exactly the same, said Akerson. “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 use of Natural Gas as car fuel benefits in two ways: Firstly the running costs are significantly less than gasoline powered counterparts, and secondly CNG vehicles emit out 20 percent less greenhouse gases than gasoline powered cars.
The major issue with CNG powered vehicles is their range and the 2015 Chevrolet Impala addresses the same with a factory-engineered and fully warranted powertrain that switches seamlessly from CNG to gasoline. As per Chevrolet the 2015 Impala will offer a range of 500 miles.
Akerson said that GM is collaboratively working with 14 of the country’s largest unions and environmental groups via Blue-Green Alliance, and is also joining hands with regulators that are “more constructive than ever.” With technologies such as lighter materials to reduce vehicle mass, alternative fuels, clean diesel and electrification, GM is committed to saving 12 billion gallons of gasoline from 2011 to 2017 that equals to almost a year’s crude imports from the Gulf.
In addition to the Impala initiative, the Chevrolet Volt, Chevrolet Spark EV and the upcoming Cadillac ELR, GM has also introduced start-stop engine technology as standard on the upcoming Chevrolet Malibu, thereby bringing its fuel consumption to decent levels. Furthermore the brand has also electrified its Buick Regal and LaCrosse sedans.