Ram has announced today it will be adding to North America compressed natural gas-powered version of its heavy-duty pickup truck. Targeting fleet customers, the CNG pickup will broaden Ram’s customer base and create competition for cross-town rival General Motors. By running on compressed natural gas the Ram 2500 Heavy Duty CNG presents costs and emissions benefits by using an abundant fuel source found here in the United States.
“Commercial customers are extremely important to Ram Truck,” said Fred Diaz, Ram Truck President and CEO Ram Truck Brand and Chrysler de Mexico, Chrysler Group LLC. “Adding a hard-working, fully capable CNG-powered truck to the Ram lineup makes a lot of sense – both economically and environmentally.”
Under the hood, the 2500 HD CNG is powered by a 5.7-liter Hemi V-8 engine and it has been altered to run on both compressed natural gas and gasoline. The cylinder heads have been design with the use of compressed natural gas in mind and the engine also utilizes valves that have been made to work using natural gas too. Translation? Well, the cylinder head seals the engine cylinder shut to form a combustion chamber, where the expensive fuel you purchase at the pump is burned. Ram hopes by using compressed natural gas, filling up will no longer sting as much since natural gas is usually about $1.25 cheaper than the national gasoline average price.
With the capability of running on both compressed natural gas and gasoline, the Ram 2500 Heavy Duty CNG draws fuel from both compressed gas storage tanks and an 8-gallon fuel tank. A minimal amount of gasoline is used when starting the truck up but it then switches to run completely on natural gas. The CNG tanks provide the gasoline equivalent of 18.2 gallons and give the truck a range of 255 miles. Once the natural gas has been used up the truck can run solely on gasoline for another 112 miles for a total range of 367 miles combined. The CNG system is automatic and doesn’t require the driver to flip any switches and the truck can continue to run on gasoline alone until a natural gas fueling station is located.
The compressed natural gas tanks are 4.6 cubic feet in size and are placed in the forward area of the truck’s 8-foot bed. Both tanks are mounted to the frame and are covered in a high-strength steel cover. To fill the Ram with more CNG you would do so just like you would with regular gasoline. A separate fuel neck for the CNG is located next to the gasoline fuel door.
Since it’s a heavy-duty work truck targeting fleet customers, the Ram 2500 CNG offers 1580 pounds of payload, a four-foot eight-inch bed of accessible space, and a heavy-duty towing hitch to go with its 7,650 pounds towing capacity. The Ram 2500 HD CNG will only be available as a four-wheel drive Crew Cab in either an ST or SLT trim level.
As it stands now there are around 1,500 CNG refilling stations in the U.S. and half of which are available to the general public. Vehicles that run on compressed natural gas emit 20 percent less CO2 than those that run exclusively on gasoline. Ram is currently taking orders for the 2500 HD CNG with the first deliveries expected by July of this year. Pricing for the Ram 2500 HD CNG starts at $47,500 and includes the $995 destination charge.