Hey, Doc! Sewage, Beer and Food Scraps Can Power Chevrolet’s Bi-fuel Impala

2015 bi-fuel CNG Chevrolet Impala

DETROIT – Trash to fuel, the stuff of the 1980s sci-fi comedy movie trilogy “Back to the Future,” is now a reality. The 2015 Bi-fuel Chevrolet Impala – not a tricked-out DeLorean – really can run on leftovers, table scraps and, oh, yeah, grains from brewing beer.

Cleveland-based quasar energy group uses organic waste to produce a renewable energy source known as biogas, which is then converted into Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) – one of two fuels that can power the 2015 Chevrolet Bi-fuel Impala.

Biogas is the raw mixture of gases given off by the breakdown of organic materials kept in an oxygen-less environment. The resulting methane gas is then processed, removing all carbon dioxide and impurities to make Renewable Natural Gas (RNG). When compressed, RNG is a direct replacement for CNG.

Since biogas can be made from most organic materials, quasar insources raw materials, otherwise considered waste, from a variety of industries. For instance, its Columbus, Ohio Renewable Energy Facility processes up to 25,000 wet tons of biosolids from the City of Columbus Department of Public Utilities for wastewater.

Progressive Field, home of the Cleveland Indians, contributes food waste for CNG-production after it’s been macerated in an industrial-sized InSinkErator Grind2Energy garbage disposal. And don’t forget beer: Anheuser-Busch’s Columbus brewery provides an organic by-product to quasar for conversion to methane gas.

“If you can buy renewable fuel at $1.95 per gallon while reducing greenhouse gas emissions, everybody wins,” said Mel Kurtz, president of quasar energy group.   “quasar’s Columbus facility can produce 1.3 million gasoline gallon equivalents of CNG each year.”

That’s enough to fill the CNG tanks of 163,000 Bi-fuel Impalas at least once.

2015 bi-fuel CNG Chevrolet Impala

Though CNG fueling stations are prevalent in states like California and Oklahoma, infrastructure in some states is scarce.

“To avoid feelings of range anxiety common in owners of CNG-only vehicles, we made the Impala bi-fuel, allowing our customers to drive on CNG when available and on gasoline when it’s not,” said Nichole Kraatz, Impala chief engineer.

The CNG tank mounted in the trunk has the equivalent capacity of 7.8 gallons of gasoline, which is expected to offer approximately 150 city miles of range on compressed natural gas based on GM testing. With gasoline and compressed natural gas combined, expected range is 500 city miles based on GM testing. EPA estimates are not yet available.

Impala’s bi-fuel system seamlessly switches to gasoline power when the CNG tank is depleted. Drivers who wish to change fuels while driving can do so by simply pushing a button. A light on the instrument panel indicates when CNG is being used, and there is no interruption in the vehicle’s performance.

Operating on CNG can result in an average fuel savings of nearly $1.13 per gasoline-gallon-equivalent based on a national average of $3.24 per gallon of gasoline as reported by AAA and $2.11 per gge of CNG, reported by CNGnow. Also, CNG vehicles typically have 20 percent fewer greenhouse gas emissions than gasoline-powered cars, according to the California Air Resources Board.

The Bi-fuel Impala is factory-built so its CNG fuel system is validated by GM and covered by GM’s three-year/36,000-mile (whichever comes first) new vehicle limited bumper-to-bumper warranty and five-year/100,000-mile (whichever comes first) limited powertrain warranty. The Bi-fuel Impala is the only bifuel-capable sedan on the market to offer a factory warranty.

When the Bi-fuel Impala goes on sale later this year, it will have a starting price of $38,210.

Editors’ Note: Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price includes destination freight charge but excludes tax, title, license, dealer fees and optional equipment.

About Chevrolet

Founded in 1911 in Detroit, Chevrolet is now one of the world’s largest car brands, doing business in more than 140 countries and selling more than 4.9 million cars and trucks a year. Chevrolet provides customers with fuel-efficient vehicles that feature spirited performance, expressive design, and high quality. More information on Chevrolet models can be found at www.chevrolet.com.

About quasar energy group

quasar is a Cleveland, Ohio based renewable energy company that designs, builds, owns and operates anaerobic digestion systems. quasar has thirteen operational anaerobic digestion facilities throughout the United States with several more under construction or in the planning stage.  qng (quasar natural gas) is derived from the anaerobic digestion of regional organic waste streams and is available to the public at quasar stations in Columbus, Zanesville and Wooster, Ohio.

Quasar Contact:
Caroline Henry
Quasar Vice President, Marketing
216-409-6713
chenry@quasareg.com

Silverado HD Strong Arms the Competition

DETROIT – How tough are heavy-duty trucks? A recent frame-twisting test found that the use of roll-formed steel in its bed allowed the tailgate of the 2015 Silverado 2500HD pickup to be lowered on uneven terrain while greater twisting of one competitor’s frame kept its tailgate from being lowered.

AMCI Testing, a third-party research firm hired by Chevrolet, recently subjected the 2015 Silverado 2500HD and a Ford F-250 Super Duty to a rigorous frame twist test, in which the truck was driven onto two staggered ramps, where the wheels on one side of the truck hit the ramp before the other, placing a large amount of torque on the frame. Measurements were then taken for the distance of displacement of the cab body and the bed, determining the amount of twist to which the frame is subjected.

AMCI found that during the test, the Silverado HD’s frame allowed 0.26 inches of twist, while the F-250 Super Duty allowed 0.94 inches of twist, 262 percent more than the Silverado. The twist was so great on the Ford that when under stress, the tailgate could not able to be lowered, while the Silverado’s available EZ-Lift and Lower Tailgate operated normally. You can see the test here.

“The use of high-strength steel in the Silverado HD is what allows the Silverado to handle even the toughest of jobs,” said Jeff Luke, General Motors’ executive chief engineer for full-size trucks. “Paired with a fully boxed frame, high-strength steel is what makes the Silverado come from the family of the most dependable, longest-lasting full-size pickups on the road.”

Roll-formed steel in the Silverado HD vs. the stamped steel bed of most competitors involves using a higher-grade steel that’s stronger, lighter and more durable. The fully boxed frame provides a rigid foundation.

The Silverado’s body is also constructed using similar high-strength steel. Approximately 67 percent of the cab is constructed with high-strength and ultra-high-strength steels. They’re used in the A-pillars, B-pillars, rockers and roof rails, as well strategic sections on the interior structure.

Ultra-high-strength steel is used in areas of the rocker panels and underbody to help improve crash performance. The Silverado uses more high-strength and ultrahigh-strength steel than any competitor’s full-size pickup truck, according to market research firm Ducker Worldwide.

About Chevrolet
Founded in 1911 in Detroit, Chevrolet is now one of the world’s largest car brands, doing business in more than 140 countries and selling more than 4.9 million cars and trucks a year. Chevrolet provides customers with fuel-efficient vehicles that feature spirited performance, expressive design, and high quality. More information on Chevrolet models can be found at www.chevrolet.com.

From GM News….

Automobile of the Year: 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray

 

 

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Yes, the 2014 Chevrolet Corvette is the Automobile of the Year. No, this was not a foregone conclusion. The Corvette may have a special place in the American automotive pantheon, but not every new Corvette has been a big deal. The C6, for example, was a conservative effort, a safe play that didn’t reach. The new C7, though, is something else. This is a thorough redesign, and it starts with a new frame. Switching from steel to aluminum (previously only Z06 and ZR1 models used an aluminum frame), the C7’s frame structure is nearly 100 pounds lighter than the C6’s and considerably stiffer. The front and rear cradles — both aluminum — are also lighter and stiffer. The lift-off top remains, but it’s carbon fiber (as is the hood). The V-8’s 6.2-liter displacement is the same as before, but this is an all-new engine, backed by a new seven-speed manual transmission. There’s newfound sophistication in the chassis and an interior that makes no excuses to anyone.

The car’s performance is simply awesome. In today’s era of horsepower inflation, the big V-8’s 455 hp, or 460 hp with the performance exhaust, may not be numbers made for bar boasts — we’ll have to wait for the Z06 for that — but you get the impression that reaching some marketing-driven power figure was not the point. The point was to smoke tires, roar out of turns, and storm down the straights — oh, and do all that without quaffing unleaded. As it turns out, this new 6.2-liter proves to be highly effective at all those things. With 460 lb-ft of torque (again, add 5 with the performance exhaust), the ability to fry the Michelin Pilot Super Sport rubber is always there, just a push of the traction control button away. When you’re more interested in go than in show, the Corvette gets down and boogies. We clocked an 11.9-second quarter mile at 118 mph; 60 mph ticks by in less than four seconds. Launch control is available should you want to clock yourself, and there’s a function that will record your time so you can amaze your friends. Full-throttle blasts are accompanied by a race-car-worthy soundtrack trumpeting from the quad exhaust pipes, but under mellower circumstances the engine emits a muted yet purposeful rumble. Even in a Corvette, you’re not always stomping on the gas, and this powertrain is just as rewarding in less aggressive driving. The new, seven-speed manual features creamy clutch action and a slick shifter. Without turbochargers to manage, the V-8’s throttle response is precisely predictable, and the long-travel accelerator pedal lets you easily mete out the exact amount of power. Despite the normally aspirated engine’s large displacement and potent output, a tall top gear and the ability to run on four cylinders (in Eco mode) help this muscular beast post EPA numbers that you won’t be ashamed to mention in polite company: 17/29 mpg city/highway for the manual, 16/28 mpg for the automatic.

The Stingray is a great car for going fast, but it’s also great for going slow. It’s great for going fast not because it goes faster, but because it’s now easier to drive it faster. The excellent steering comes by way of a system that Chevrolet says is five times stiffer and a wheel that’s smaller than before; the result is newfound precision that makes this big machine much more wieldy. The chassis incorporates the expected suite of computer-managed traction and handling aids, but what’s remarkable is how customizable they are and how deftly they perform their bacon-saving functions while still leaving so much of the car control in the hands (and feet) of the driver. There are five main modes, topping out in Track, into which you can delve further until you get to the level where stability and traction control are completely off. The optional and highly worthwhile Z51 package supplements all that with an electronically locking rear differential that constantly apportions torque from side to side, which allowed even the less skilled among us to power out of corners at GingerMan Raceway with confidence. This Corvette is not going to break away suddenly or snap around on you. There’s grace and fluidity here. Accessibility is a theme running through the C7. Despite the sophisticated technology, this is not a cold, technocratic machine. It is a democratic sports car — and what could be more American than that? From the moment you press the hidden pad releasing the familiar electronic door latch and slip inside, the C7 presents a friendlier countenance. The driver’s relationship with his surroundings has changed. You’re no longer buried in the car, lost in a sea of undulating fiberglass, surrounded by cheap-looking plastics. Forget all that. Your interaction with the C7 is as straightforward as a handshake. The ergonomics feel right; the switchgear is clear and functional; you can see out of the cabin; and the seats hold you comfortably in place. Yes, the Corvette really does have decent seats — and we haven’t even tried the optional competition buckets. It also has an interior worthy of a $50,000-plus sports car. The materials look and feel good, and the interfaces manage to be modern yet not gimmicky, a concept that more and more carmakers are finding elusive these days.

The interior design may actually be more successful than that of the exterior, which is the new car’s most subjective aspect and its most controversial. The styling is very busy, and the essential Z51 package adds even more in the form of spoilers and brake-cooling ducts. Against that, the new design does move the Corvette’s look forward at last, after three generations of stasis. And based on the reactions of our younger staffers and of the cell-phone-wielding paparazzi, the design also seems to resonate with a new generation. If the Stingray really can capture their imagination, then the Corvette might once again be seen on the coasts, not just in the middle of the country. It is interesting that, in our days of driving and discussions, it emerged that the Corvette’s major rival for this award was the Cadillac CTS. Of all the new cars introduced this year — from brands such as Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Lexus, Ford, Jaguar, Land Rover, and many others — the top two contenders for Automobile of the Year were both from General Motors. General Motors, the bumbling giant, tied up in knots of bureaucracy and legacy costs, recipient of a much-vilified loan from Uncle Sam. Although many will never admit it, today’s GM is putting out some excellent products. We can’t help but marvel at the fact that they were developed under the darkest possible skies. Given the circumstances, we might not have expected a great new Corvette, but that’s exactly what we got. The Corvette has long been a tremendous performance value wrapped in an all-American package. Now, however, with newfound sophistication and user-friendliness, the C7 should melt the barriers that have kept away so many driving enthusiasts. This is not just a car for the Corvette faithful but instead spreads the gospel to a new, wider audience. The 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray is a world-class car with no apologies to make, an expression of greatness from a town and a car company that have been dismissed as losers. It is also the Automobile of the Year. Tadge Juechter, chief engineer of the 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray, is Automobile Magazine’s 2014 Man of the Year. Click here to read the full story.

2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray

Base Price: $51,995
Powertrain  
Engine: 16-valve OHV V-8
Displacement: 16-valve OHV V-8
Horsepower: 455-460 hp @ 6000 rpm
Torque: 460-465 lb-ft @ 4600 rpm
Transmission: 7-speed manual, 6-speed automatic
Drive: Rear-wheel
Chassis  
Steering: Electrically assisted
Front Suspension: Control arms, transverse leaf spring
Rear Suspension: Control arms, transverse leaf spring
Brakes: Vented discs
Tires: Michelin Pilot Super Sport ZP
Tire sizes F, R: 245/40R-18 (93Y), 285/35R-19 (99Y)
Measurements  
L x W x H: 177.0 x 73.9 x 48.6 in
Wheelbase: 106.7 in
Track F/R: 62.8/61.6 in
Weight: 3436 lb
Weight dist.: 49/51%
0-60 mph: 3.7 sec
Top speed: 185 mph (est.)
EPA mileage: 17/29 mpg, 16/28 mpg (manual, automatic)

Read more: http://www.automobilemag.com/features/awards/1401_automobile_of_the_year_2014_chevrolet_corvette_stingray/#ixzz2l6IqPN2K

 

…..- by  | Photographs by: A. J. Mueller