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Mopar testing new CNG minivans?

by David Zatz on

James Finck filed for an FCA US patent in 2013, just issued, on a modular storage system for gaseous fuels such as compressed natural gas (CNG).

Ram is the only pickup sold in the US with a factory CNG conversion; Ford and GM use aftermarket suppliers. The company has also sold CNG minivans, vans, and cars in the past.

Rather than having large tanks taking up space in the body, the new system would put the tanks under the floor, with the tank cover forming part of the floor (just forward of the spare tire). Both the text and illustrations show minivans.

The modular system could be built elsewhere, certified, and quickly be fit into a vehicle on the assembly line. The container could store tanks of different sizes if needed,  letting it have different shapes for easier packaging into various trucks, vans, and cars.

Ram CNG

Fleet buyers may be attracted by the low and relatively steady price of the fuel, as well as its clean-burning attributes; and CNG presumably would gain FCA US more, badly needed CAFE credits.

Sources: Steven St. Laurent and the U.S. Patent Office

David Zatz founded Allpar in 1998 (based on a site he had begun in 1993-94), after years of writing reviews for retail trades. He has been quoted by the New York Times, the Daily Telegraph, the Detroit News, and USA Today. Before making Allpar a full-time career, he was a consultant in organizational psychology. You can reach him by using our contact form (much preferred) or by calling (313) 766-2304

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