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Chevrolet introduces CNG-capable bi-fuel Impala

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General Motors said it will sell a version of its well-received Chevrolet Impala that runs on both gasoline and also compressed natural gas. The car has a separate CNG tank mounted in the truck, and drivers can switch, well, from gas to gas, by pushing a button on the dashboard. It's expected to be in showrooms next summer as a 2015 model. In an unveiling Wednesday in Washington, D.C., GM CEO Dan Akerson said "there will be nothing like it on the road." He said the sedan can go 350 miles on gasoline and 150 miles on natural gas. It's expected to find a place in corporate and government fleets, but it will also be sold at dealers -- but not a lot. GM said it would be happy to move 750 to 1,000 units the first year, according to Automotive News

Akerson said the bi-fuel approach is a nod to its Chevy Volt, the plug-in electric that comes with a small gasoline engine to extend its range. No word on pricing. CNG vehicles can carry steep costs, generally thousands more in conversions and special engine equipment. Ford announced a CNG-ready engine for its popular F-150 pickup truck in July, but the after-market conversion adds an extra $7,500 to $9,000 to the price tag.

-- Jim Fuquay


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