General Motors says it will sell a sedan in the U.S. next year that can run on compressed natural gas and gasoline, its latest push to diversify its portfolio of vehicles and take advantage of domestically produced fuel.
Next summer, GM will begin selling a Chevrolet Impala with an engine that can switch between compressed natural gas (CNG) to gasoline, the company's chairman and CEO Dan Akerson said at an energy summit Wednesday.
The Impala will carry a factory warranty on the entire powertrain and fuel system, the same deal extended to GM's other CNG vehicles.
The company will manufacture a small volume of CNG vehicles, Akerson said.
"Most of our customers are going to be commercial and government fleets, and selling 750 to 1,000 units in the first model year would be a home run," he said in his speech.
GM makes dedicated CNG vehicles too. But this latest push into dual-fuel cars and trucks aims to introduce the public to natural gas without forcing them to make a full commitment. It also addresses one of the bigger issues with natural gas vehicles: the lack of CNG stations.
There are about 1,200 CNG stations nationwide and only about half are open to the public, said Akerson. This compares with more than 168,000 retail gasoline stations.
The company announced earlier this month that Chevrolet and GMC would offer bi-fuel versions of the 2015 Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra heavy-duty trucks and dedicated compressed natural gas versions of the 2014 Chevrolet Express and GMC Savana full-size passenger vans.