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Chrysler's Ram brand will manufacture the new 2500 CNG/gasoline bi-fuel pickup entirely at its own plant in Mexico, with no installation work done by outside suppliers. This, the company says, will save several thousand dollars over a supplier-installed system though the actual price has not been released.

The bi-fuel package was engineered with the help of engineers at Fiat, Chrysler's parent and a major supplier of natural-gas vehicles in Europe where it has an 80% market share. It includes a gas-prepped 5.7-litre Hemi V8 that uses gasoline only for start-up, then switches to CNG. If the truck runs out of CNG, it switches automatically to gasoline.

The Ram's CNG tanks are in a cabinet behind the cab while the gasoline tank is in its normal place between frame rails beneath the bed. The CNG tank holds 18.2 gasoline-gallon-equivalents or GGEs (in US gal, 69 litres) and the standard gasoline tank is only eight gal (30 litres). Unless you're a Canadian customer, in which case you can opt for a 35-gal (132.5 litres) gasoline tank. CNG-only range is 255 miles (410 km), and the backup gasoline supply extends that to 367 miles (590 km).

Ram offers only a single pickup model right now, a four-wheel-drive 2500 Heavy Duty Crew Cab with an 8-ft-long bed. If demand calls for other models, they might be added.

It handles a payload up to 1580 lb (717 kg) and up to 7650 lb (3470 kg) of towing capacity. Like all Ram 2500 Heavy Duty trucks, this one sports big brakes using 14-in. rotors and calipers to match. Front GAWR is rated up to 5200 lb (2359 kg) , well suited to snow-plow attachments.

The company expects to deliver the first vehicles in July.

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Ram 2500 CNG pickup Chrysler CNG Fiat bi-fuel pickup truck

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