General Motors will build a Chevrolet Impala sedan for both retail and fleet customers that operates on either gasoline or compressed natural gas (CNG).
GM's chairman and CEO Dan Akerson made that announcement today at an energy summit marking the 40th anniversary of the OPEC Oil Embargo.
Natural gas is said to be a cleaner-burning transportation fuel compared to petroleum products, and costs significantly less than gasoline at current prices.
CNG vehicles typically have 20% fewer greenhouse gas emissions than gasoline-powered cars, according to the California Air Resources Board.
Because it can also run on gasoline, the bi-fuel Impala addresses the range anxiety issue associated with vehicles that run only on natural gas, Akerson said.
It features a factory-engineered and fully warranted powertrain that switches seamlessly from CNG to gasoline. Total range is expected to be up to 800 km.
Akerson said that GM is committed to saving 45 billion litres of gasoline in its 2011 to 2017 model year vehicles with technologies that include lighter materials to reduce vehicle mass, alternative fuels, clean diesel and electrification.