Ft. Wayne GM Plant Taking The Plunge Into Natural Gas Powered Trucks

By Jeff Neumeyer

February 7, 2014 Updated Feb 7, 2014 at 6:25 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (21ALIVE) --- New trucks being turned off the assembly line in Fort Wayne are relying more on cleaner burning natural gas to power them down the road.

It’s not something brand new at the General Motors truck plant.

Some 2013 models of the Chevy Silverado pickups made in Fort Wayne were set up to run on compressed natural gas.

The 2015 Silverado heavy duty trucks have been refined so you can go about 650 miles between fill-ups.

The driver can go from regular gas to natural gas with a flip of a switch.

The model was unveiled this week at the Chicago Auto Show.

They cost several thousand dollars more, but GM says buyers can re-coup their money over time.
" There’s an average savings of about $2,000 a year for a driver that's driving, you know, 24,000 miles, so it's quite a significant savings for a fleet, for a company that has a lot of fleet trucks," said Chris Adasczik, GM’s Plant Launch Manager in Fort Wayne.

GM is targeting fleet operations as a main customer for this new truck model.

Only certain kinds of users figure to be able to get their money back on these trucks.

Individual buyers may not put enough miles on the trucks to realize the bigger cost savings on fuel.

That’s especially true if they want to trade for a new truck after logging only 75,000 to 100,000 miles.

A company might insist on putting 250,000 on one, helping ensure a good return on investment.

And there’s another consideration.

Where would the average truck buyer find natural gas service stations to fill up?

Fleet operations are more likely to have worked out the logistics for dealing with that problem.

Some double cab and crew cab models are on sale now.

Others should be available for purchase at a Chevy dealership by July.

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