Chevrolet adds Natural Gas bi-fuel to 2015 Impala, making one gassy hybrid

2015 chevrolet impala natural gas bi fuel variant due next summer cng
Unlike the Honda Civic CNG, the Impala bi-fuel can run on gasoline or natural gas with the push of a button.

Not every green car has batteries.

Natural gas is a low-emission fuel that’s been around for years, but it hasn’t exactly gone mainstream. Chevrolet obviously hopes that will change, because it’s adding a natural gas model to the 2015 Impala lineup.

Actually, the Impala will be a bi-fuel vehicle. It can run on natural gas, then switch over to gasoline to give it the range of a normal car. Think of it as a very gassy hybrid.

The Impala will have two fuel systems: one for compressed natural gas (CNG), one for gasoline; drivers can switch between them with the push of a button. Chevy says the car will have a total range of about 500 miles if both tanks are topped up.

Bi-fuel vehicles are popular with fleets; the ‘Big Three’ offer variants of their full-size pickups that run on both CNG and gasoline, and some aftermarket companies sell conversion kits. However, the 2015 Impala will be the first passenger car available for sale to individual customers from an OEM.

The only other CNG car on the market is the Honda Civic Natural Gas. According to Honda (pun intended) it gets up to 250 miles of range.

The Civic can’t switch over to gasoline, though, and that’s a problem for anyone hoping to travel long distances.

Like electric cars, CNG cars come with “range anxiety.”

There are less than 1,000 CNG filling stations in the United States, and even though many U.S. homes are heated by natural gas, there is no readily available high-speed, home-fueling system for CNG cars. Electric cars can at least be charged from home Level 2 charging stations or – in a pinch – a plain old wall socket. Home CNG fillers can take as long as eight hours for a full tank.

So why is GM bothering with a bi-fuel car, when it already has so much money sunk into the Chevy Volt, Spark EV, and other electric vehicles?

Let’s put it this way: it wasn’t a coincidence that GM CEO Dan Akerson chose to unveil the bi-fuel Impala on the 40th anniversary of the 1973 OPEC Oil Embargo.

“We know that U.S. energy security won’t come from a one-off moonshot,” Akerson said. “It will flow from our systematic investment in technology and innovation.” Virtually all of the natural gas used in future cars will come from domestic shale gas reserves.

The bi-fuel option will be offered on the 2015 Impala beginning next summer. Pricing has not been announced, but Chevy expects to deliver only a handful of copies in the first year.


Driving Daimler’s 40-ton eCascadia big rig isn’t just fun, it’s electrifying

Daimler Trucks brought its all-electric eCascadia semi-truck to the 2019 CES, and invited us to take the wheel. What does it feel like to drive one? Simply electrifying, of course.

Ford has a plan to future-proof the hot-selling F-150 pickup truck

Worried about the threat of rising gas prices, Ford will add the F-150 to its growing portfolio of electrified vehicles. It is currently developing a hybrid F-150, and it will release an electric version of the next-generation truck.

2020 Ford Explorer branches out with sporty ST, efficiency-focused hybrid models

The 2020 Ford Explorer gets two variants never before seen on Ford's stalwart family hauler. The ST focuses on performance, while the hybrid aims for decent gas mileage. Both models will debut at the 2019 Detroit Auto Show.

Rocket technology will allow the 2020 Tesla Roadster to hover above the road

Tesla has officially unveiled the second-generation Roadster. With a 0-to-60 mph time of 1.9 seconds, the Roadster could be the quickest production car in the world. It's is scheduled to arrive in 2020.

Nissan IMs concept teases a future long-range, autonomous electric car

Debuting at the 2019 Detroit Auto Show, the Nissan IMs is an electric car with a 380-mile range, autonomous-driving capability, and a backseat designed for being chauffeured. Too bad it's just a concept car.

The 2020 Lexus RC F goes on a diet to run faster and hit harder

The Lexus RC F has been one of the heavier cars in its competitive set since its introduction. The Japanese firm's engineers set out to shed weight as they gave the model a mid-cycle update.

Lexus LC convertible concept teases a new open-air flagship

Debuting at the 2019 Detroit Auto Show, the Lexus LC convertible concept adds open-air motoring to the sleek LC's resume. But Lexus won't commit to a production version of the car just yet.

Fast and Furious fans get revved up: Toyota’s Supra sports car is back

The 2020 Toyota Supra made its long-awaited debut at the 2019 Detroit Auto Show. The resurrected sports car, famous for a role in The Fast and the Furious, goes on sale in the U.S. this summer.

Muscle cars, trucks, and EVs roared into the subdued 2019 Detroit Auto Show

The 2019 Detroit Auto Show was the quietest edition of the event in recent memory, but that doesn't mean nothing significant happened inside the Cobo Center. Here are the new cars and concepts we saw at the show.

Big tech, bigger grille: BMW updates its 7 Series flagship for 2020

The BMW 7 Series will enter the 2020 model year with a host of updates inside, outside, and under the sheet metal. The new-look nose with a jumbo grille hides updated engines, while passengers benefit from smart tech features.
Emerging Tech

Ford’s sweaty robot bottom can simulate 10 years of seat use in mere days

Ford has developed 'Robutt,' a sweaty robot bottom that's designed to simulate the effects of having a pair of human buttocks sitting on its car seats for thousands of hours. Check it out.

In McLaren’s 600LT Spider, the engine is the only sound system you’ll need

The McLaren 600LT Spider is the inevitable convertible version of the 600LT coupe, itself a lighter, more powerful version of the McLaren 570S. The 600LT Spider boasts a 592-horsepower, twin-turbo V8, and a loud exhaust system to hear it…

Robomart’s self-driving grocery store is like Amazon Go on wheels

Robomart's driverless vehicle is like an Amazon Go store on wheels, with sensors tracking what you grab from the shelves. If you don't want to shop online or visit the grocery store yourself, Robomart will bring the store to you.

Ford’s Mustang-inspired electric crossover will spawn a Lincoln luxury version

Lincoln will get its own version of parent Ford's first mass-market, long-range electric vehicle. While Ford's version will have styling inspired by the Mustang, Lincoln will take a more traditional approach.