GM expands B-20 line-up, predicts uptick in biodiesel use

Updated Jan 19, 2017
2017 Chevrolet Silverado 3500 HD2017 Chevrolet Silverado 3500 HD

GM believes that more fleets will be turning to biodiesel as part of an ongoing effort to improve fuel sustainability.

That announcement came this week at the National Biodiesel Conference in San Diego where the automaker also reported that its expanding its portfolio of B-20 vehicles, which, in addition to trucks and vans, will include a compact car and a compact crossover.

“Diesel propulsion deserves wider consideration by fleet managers across the country,” said John Schwegman, GM Fleet director of commercial product and medium duty trucks. “Truck customers know that diesel power lets them tow and haul big loads with confidence.”

GM reports that Chevrolet now offers the industry’s broadest lineup of B20-capable diesel propulsion for fleet, commercial and retail customers, including: Express full-size vans; Silverado HD full-size pickups; the Colorado mid-size pickup; the Low Cab Forward commercial truck; the 2017 Cruze compact car and the 2018 Equinox compact crossover.

All of the top 25 fleets use at least two fuels, according to Bobit Business Media data, and biodiesel makes up 18 percent of alternative-powered vehicles of the Top 50 Green Fleets.

“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,” Schwegman said. “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.”

The Chevrolet Cruze diesel, coming this spring, will be offered in both sedan and hatchback body styles. Coupled with a 1.6L turbo-diesel engine and standard 6-speed manual or available 9-speed automatic transmission, it is expected to better the 46 mpg EPA-estimated highway fuel economy of the first-generation diesel model.

The all-new Chevrolet Equinox diesel is expected to be the first diesel offered in the compact crossover segment in North America when it goes on sale this summer. It will use the 1.6-liter turbo-diesel and be paired with a 6-speed automatic transmission, and it is expected to achieve a GM-estimated 40 mpg on the highway. EPA estimates are not yet available.

GM also redesigned its Duramax 6.6-liter V8 turbo-diesel offered on the 2017 Silverado HD. This next-generation engine offers more horsepower and torque than ever — an SAE-certified 445 horsepower (332 kW) and 910 lb.-ft. (1,234 Nm) – and 19 percent increase in torque over the current 6.6-liter Duramax.

In 2018, Chevrolet will add a fifth diesel-powered truck line: a new Class 4/5 conventional cab truck being developed jointly with Navistar.

GM Fleet’s Biodiesel Options

Chevrolet Express (Cargo, Passenger, Cutaway)

Chevrolet Low Cab Forward

Chevrolet Colorado

Chevrolet Silverado (2500HD, 3500HD, Chassis Cab)

Chevrolet Equinox

Chevrolet Cruze (Sedan, Hatchback)

GMC Savana (Cargo, Passenger, Cutaway)

GMC Sierra (2500HD, 3500HD, Chassis Cab)

GMC Canyon

GMC Terrain

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