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Factory-Built Ram 2500 CNG Pickup Debuts

"Our commerical customers have been asking us to build a CNG (compressed natural gas) powered Ram," says Peter Grady, vice president, network development and fleet at the Chrysler Group LLC. "These fleets have already developed their own fleet fueling infrastructure for CNG, and are strong proponents of the technology."

At the NTEA Work Truck Show, the company responded by unveiling a 2500 HD Heavy Duty CNG pickup. It is powered by a 5.7-liter V8 and features both compressed gas storage tanks and an 8-gal. gasoline fuel tank (Canadian customers can opt for a 35-gal. tank).

The pickup's 4.6-cu.-ft. (130-liter) CNG tanks are located in the forward portion of the 8-ft. 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 fuel filler door. Range on compressed natural gas alone is estimated to be 255 miles, while the backup supply of gasoline extends the range to 367 total miles.

The 5.7-liter 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 a set of injectors. New spark plugs improve combustion and durability, and a new powertrain control module allows the HEMI to seamlessly operate on either of the two fuel sources.

Fuel system operation is automatic. It transitions from CNG to gasoline with little discernible difference in operation or capability. Although a small amount of gasoline is used during engine startup, the pickup runs exclusively on compressed natural gas. If the CNG tanks are emptied, the vehicle will automatically switch to gasoline.

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 truck can carry 1,580 lbs. of payload and tow 7,650 lbs.