Chrysler Group LLC announced today that it has begun the delivery of 242 new 2013 Ram 2500 Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) pickup trucks to the state of Oklahoma, the Company’s largest customer order since production of the unique trucks began in October.
Peter Grady, Vice President of Network Development and Fleet – Chrysler Group LLC, presented the keys to one of the Ram 2500 CNG pickups to Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin today at the Oklahoma Department of Transportation (ODOT) in Oklahoma City.
The Ram 2500 CNG is the only OEM-built compressed natural gas-powered pickup truck in North America. ODOT will use the Ram CNG pickups primarily as service trucks on the state’s roads and highways.
Gov. Fallin is leading a bipartisan coalition of 22 states seeking to use more CNG vehicles in their state fleets. CNG-powered trucks offer cost and emissions benefits, using an abundant, domestically-sourced fuel, which reduces America’s dependence on foreign oil. CNG lessens the environmental impact of greenhouse gas and reduces smog-producing pollutants up to 90 percent.
The governor announced the CNG project at the inaugural Governor’s Energy Conference in 2011. Since then, Gov. Fallin has worked with other state officials and governors, met with automobile manufacturers, including Chrysler Group, and issued and received bids for more affordable CNG vehicles for use in state fleets.
“Chrysler Group is delighted that we can deliver these unique Ram pickup trucks today to Gov. Fallin, a steadfast champion in the use of compressed natural gas vehicles in state fleets,” Grady said. “Through the governor’s tireless efforts to form a coalition of states, 13 Ram Truck dealers have landed contracts with 19 states to supply their fleets with the new Ram 2500 CNG pickup trucks.”
The Ram CNG pickups delivered today were purchased by the state of Oklahoma through John Vance Motors, a Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram Truck dealership in Guthrie, Okla., north of Oklahoma City.
“Converting the state’s fleet to CNG will save taxpayers millions of dollars in fuel costs,” Gov. Fallin said. “The use of cleaner-burning CNG fuel is good for the environment and promotes Oklahoma-made natural gas which in turn supports the creation of more Oklahoma jobs. Our multi-state bidding process was aimed at encouraging automakers to provide states with more affordable and more functional CNG vehicles. We are very thankful for the team at Chrysler for their help and leadership throughout that process. The state of Oklahoma is excited to add quality CNG trucks to our state fleets from manufacturers like Chrysler.”
The Ram 2500 CNG is actually a bi-fuel vehicle that uses compressed natural gas as its primary fuel source, but automatically switches to gasoline when the CNG tanks are emptied. In use, the Ram CNG transitions from one fuel to the other with little discernible difference in operation or capability.
“These are heavy-duty trucks and we have highway crews in every county in the state who will put them to work immediately,” said Oklahoma Secretary of Transportation Gary Ridley. “I’m grateful that ODOT has the opportunity to work with Governor Fallin and the auto industry to cut costs and improve our operations.”
In vehicles, CNG achieves nearly identical mileage figures as unleaded regular gasoline – with a retail cost more than 50 percent lower than the average price of a gallon of gasoline. The Ram 2500 CNG system was fully engineered and tested by Chrysler Group and assembled at the company’s Heavy Duty truck plant in Saltillo, Mexico. Production of the Ram 2500 CNG began in late October in the Saltillo plant.