Carl Sandburg couldn’t make the 2014 Chicago Auto Show, nor was there mention of Chevrolet’s Silverado HD in Sandburg’s poetic ode to the city, Chicago. If Sandburg had been there on the show’s Media Day, I think he would have found the Silverado HD completely appropriate to the way in which he saw his city: “Hog Butcher for the World, Tool Maker, Stacker of Wheat…stormy, husky, brawling, City of the Big Shoulders.” Even better, as Chevrolet execs announced during their press conference at the Chicago Auto Show, the Silverado HD will be available as a CNG-powered variant. Whether butchering hogs or brawling, the efficiencies of compressed natural gas can’t be underestimated.
After what seemed like an almost endless process for the redesign of GM’s heavy duty pickups (a corporate bankruptcy seems to have gotten in the way), the new HDs are – as this is written – headed from the assembly line to dealer showrooms. And while our behind-the-wheel exposure to the HDs was limited to one day in and around Scottsdale, Arizona, the improvements – when compared to the previous-gen Heavy Duty lineup – are manifest. A redesigned exterior finally brings the HD into the current century, while improvements to the interior meet or exceed what’s delivered on competitive showrooms. In short, with the new Silverado HD a hog butcher never had it so good!
Of course, for the butcher operating a fleet CNG makes good economic sense. With a gallon of CNG costing roughly 60% less than conventional gasoline, GM projects a savings of about $2,000 per year in 26,000 miles of driving. And in that GM’s CNG system is validated by GM, the system is covered by GM’s factory powertrain warranty.
The CNG option is available on all Silverado 2500HD and 3500HD models with single rear wheels. Double cab and crew cab models are on sale now; regular cab and all 3500HD models will go on sale this July. If Carl should be reading this, he should get on the list now, and stack his wheat – or whatever deceased poets do – later.