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GM Offers More ‘Green’ Fleet Options

General Motors (GM) is offering a host of ‘green’ fleet options including compressed natural gas (CNG) carbon vans, flex-fuel vehicles and hybrids to help businesses lower the environmental impact of their fleets. Volvo is also testing trucks that run on liquefied methane gas (LMG).

Touted as the industry’s only fully integrated CNG cargo vans, GM held its first public showing of the new vehicles at this week’s Green Fleet Conference in San Diego. GM says the vans meet all of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and California Air Resources Board (CARB) emission certification requirements.

The automaker showcased the Chevrolet Express and GMC Savana CNG vans at the show. The fully integrated CNG fuel system option has a manufacturer’s suggested retail price of $15,910. The vans will be covered by GM’s three-year, 36,000-mile new vehicle limited warranty and five-year, 100,000-mile limited powertrain warranty.

“Our compressed natural gas cargo vans will make it easier for fleet owners to meet their business objectives and make their transportation more sustainable,” said Mary Beth Stanek, GM’s director of federal environmental and energy regulatory affairs, and a conference keynote speaker, in a statement.

GM also offers fleet owners other fuel-efficient vehicles, flex-fuel vehicles and hybrids as sustainable options.

As an example, GM offers 12 models with EPA-estimated 30 miles per gallon (MPG)  highway ratings that use engine advancements like Active Fuel Management to deactivate cylinders and Spark Ignition Direct Injection including the new Chevrolet Cruze Eco model that is expected to get up to 40 MPG highway when it goes on sale in early 2011.

GM also offers 19 flex-fuel models that run on up to 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline or any combination of the two. GM says it’s on track to make more than half of its vehicle production flex-fuel capable by 2012.

GM also offers the only hybrid pickup trucks in the market — the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra, along with four other hybrid models — the Cadillac Escalade, Chevrolet Tahoe, GMC Yukon and GMC Yukon Denali.

A survey conducted earlier this year shows that almost half the automotive fleets in the country, 49 percent, are now measuring their emissions. Among the companies tracking their emissions, 65 percent are using the actual fuel data as the basis for their measurement.

Meanwhile, Volvo Trucks plans to start public field testing in Stockholm with methane diesel trucks that can run on liquefied methane gas (LMG).The automaker says heavy trucks running on liquid gas combined with methane diesel technology has up to four times longer driving range compared to most traditional gas trucks.

At the same time, Sweden is opening its first filling station for LMG. Two other filling stations are planned.

“Increased use of gas is a bridge towards climate-neutral transports,” said Lars Mårtensson, environmental director at Volvo Trucks, in a statement. “Biogas production is already taking off in many countries. We’re currently in a transition period, moving from decades of dependence on oil to a society built on renewable fuels. When trucks can operate on 80 percent pure biogas and 20 percent pure biodiesel, carbon emissions will be 80 percent lower than with conventional diesel technology.”

Three Volvo FM trucks with 13-litre engines are currently being field tested, based on Volvo’s proven Euro 5 diesel engine, which has been converted for gas operation.

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