Alternative fuels have been an important focus at GM over the past 25 years. The 2016 Chevrolet Impala Bi-Fuel is the latest model to offer the ability to seamlessly run on compressed natural gas (CNG) or gasoline. Natural gas is the cleanest-burning of all fossil fuels and emits fewer greenhouse gas emissions than conventionally powered vehicles. Plus, natural gas is an abundant resource in the U.S. and costs significantly less per gallon equivalent than gasoline.
Gas or CNG? Dual fuel capability solves the range anxiety that occurs with vehicles running solely on an alternative fuel. Impala drivers can choose to run on CNG or gasoline with a dashboard switch. The system seamlessly switches to gasoline once CNG is depleted. Fuel gauges are provided for both fuels.
Connectivity is well looked-after in the Impala Bi-Fuel, which offers OnStar with 4G LTE connectivity and Wi-Fi hotspot plus wireless smartphone charging. Chevrolet’s MyLink infotainment system and Apple CarPlay integrate smartphone functions onto an eight-inch color touchscreen that allows calling up features like music and navigation apps.
Fueling convenience is provided with both the gasoline fuel inlet and CNG pressure fitting located behind a common fuel filler door. Fueling with natural gas at a CNG pump takes about the same amount of time as refueling with gasoline.
Bi-fuel operation requires the Impala’s 3.6-liter dual-fuel V-6 to be equipped with hardened valves and valve seats to enhance durability when running on CNG. Special regulators, filters, and high pressure fuel lines are also used. Driving range is an EPA estimated 119 miles on CNG and 368 miles on gasoline.