General Motors plans to expand its portfolio of vehicles capable of operating on B20 biodiesel blends – a fuel mixture of 20% biodiesel and 80% petroleum-based diesel – with the addition of a diesel-fired Chevrolet Cruze sedan this spring, along with diesel-powered versions of the Chevrolet Equinox and GMC Terrain crossover models later this summer.
“Diesel propulsion deserves wider consideration by fleet managers across the country,” noted John Schwegman, director of commercial product and medium duty for GM’s Fleet division, in a statement.
“Truck customers know that diesel power lets them tow and haul big loads with confidence,” he said. “In cars and crossovers like the Chevrolet Cruze and Equinox, diesel propulsion can deliver hybrid-like highway fuel economy with less complexity and driving range that can top 500 miles on the highway.”
GM’s current lineup of vehicles that can operate on B20 includes:
- The Chevrolet Express and GMC Savana van in cargo, passenger, and cutaway configurations
- The Chevrolet Low Cab Forward medium-duty truck
- The Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon mid-size pickup
- The Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra full-size pickups in 2500HD, 3500HD, Chassis Cab configurations
GM said the Chevrolet Cruze diesel, coming this spring, will be offered in both sedan and hatchback body styles with an optional 1.6-liter turbo-diesel engine mated to a standard 6-speed manual or available 9-speed automatic transmission. It is expected get better than the 46 mpg attained by its first-generation diesel model, the OEM noted.
Later this summer, that 1.6-liter diesel engine option will be offered for the 2018 model Chevrolet Equinox and GMC Terrain; a move that’s expected make them the first diesel-powered options in the North American compact crossover segment, the automaker said. Paired with a 6-speed automatic transmission, GM said it expects those diesel-fired crossovers to attain in the neighborhood of 40 mpg.
Chevrolet noted that the new Equinox, when it goes on sale this spring, will be offered with a base sticker price of $24,475, which excludes destination charges and upgrade costs for its diesel powertrain.
In 2018, the OEM added that its Chevrolet division will add a fifth diesel-powered truck to its lineup: a new Class 4 and 5 conventional cab truck being developed jointly with Navistar.
“With biodiesel production and retail distribution expanding, and so many proven benefits, we believe more fleets will embrace the technology as part of their sustainability plans,” noted Schwegman. “If our diesel customers fueled exclusively with B20, we estimate that consumption of petroleum-based fuels could be reduced by hundreds of millions gallons annually.”
In conjunction with those rollouts, GM is planning additional investment of $1 billion in U.S. in its manufacturing operations, which follows $2.9 billion worth of investment in 2016 and totaling more than $21 billion worth of investments in its U.S. operations since 2009.
The company also announced it will begin work on "in-sourcing" axle production for its next generation full-size pickup trucks – including work previously done in Mexico – to operations in Michigan, which will create 450 U.S. jobs, GM noted.