DETROIT - General Motors has finalized the production process for its compressed natural gas (CNG) powered Chevrolet Express and GMC Savana full-size vans, allowing the company to deliver fleet customers complete vehicles with a fully integrated and dedicated CNG fuel system starting this fall. 

GM announced in May that it would offer a one-source CNG option for vans. 

"Our focus from the beginning has been to offer fleet customers a simple 'check the box' approach with our CNG Chevrolet Express and Savana vans," said Brian Small, general manager of GM fleet and commercial operations. 

The vans will meet all Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and California Air Resources Board (CARB) emission certification requirements, and will be fully compliant with applicable motor vehicle safety standards, according to GM.

Each CNG Chevrolet Express or GMC Savana van also will be covered by GM's three-year, 36,000-mile new vehicle limited warranty and five-year, 100,000-mile limited powertrain warranty. 

GM's Global Powertrain and Vehicle Engineering Centers have provided their expertise in gaseous fuel systems for this vehicle system. 

Providing fleets with a convenient, all-in-one CNG vehicle begins with GM's Vortec 6.0L V8 engine, the automaker said. GM engineers modified this power plant with hardened exhaust valves, as well as intake and exhaust valve seats for improved wear resistance and durability with gaseous fuel systems. 

These hardened engines will then be assembled into the Chevrolet Express and GMC Savana vans at GM's Wentzville, Mo., plant.   

In addition, GM has chosen Productive Concepts (PCI), an alternative fuels conversion company, to become an integral part of its production. PCI will integrate the CNG fuel delivery and storage system with the hardened engine at its facility in Union City, Ind.

 PCI also will work to ensure full emissions compliance. 

Once the CNG system is integrated into the vans at PCI, they can be shipped to many specialty vehicle manufacturers to have commercial equipment added, or they can go directly to GM dealers.