Amid all the hype for electric and hydrogen vehicles, natural gas vehicles have slowly been building momentum: and now they are set for a significant spike in sales.
According to a report from Pike Research, the global market for light duty natural gas vehicles – which includes light duty trucks, commercial vehicles and passenger cars – will enjoy a compound annual growth rate of 6.2 per cent from 2012-2019. Indeed it should reach 3.2million vehicles sold in 2019.
Usually, natural gas vehicles run on compressed natural gas with the tanks being lighter and less costly than those for liquefied natural gas.
The largest market for the vehicles will be the Asia Pacific region thanks to strong growth in markets such as: China, 20 per cent; India, 23 per cent; and Thailand, 24 per cent. Elsewhere, in North America, the truck segment will lead sales as the market largely consists of fleet purchasers – fleet sales will expand by 10.8 per cent annually; while in Latin America, the consumer market will lead the way thanks to the massive markets of Argentina and Brazil which account for 25 per cent of total natural gas vehicle sales globally: there will be growth in the region of 10 per cent in other markets over the next several years. Meanwhile, in Europe, there are wide differences based on the individual country - with Ukraine and Italy leading the way and other markets struggling due to the lack of infrastructure.
So what is driving the push for natural gas vehicles?
According to the report, the most significant factors are: environmental benefits; economic benefits; energy security; and the increased availability of both the fuel and the vehicles themselves. Natural gas vehicles are believed to offer lower particulate matter, nitrogen oxides and greenhouse gas when compared to both petrol and diesel vehicles.
Paul is a freelance writer with a background in everything from motoring to finance; and holidays to women's undergarments he just writes about them, honestly! He has now sadly crept into his early 30s and seems to have forgotten everything learned at school Still, he's a green car fanatic and isn't that what counts?
A big problem with natural gas vehicles is, lack of fueling facilities. So I would strongly urge Germany (and other nations, and also California here in the States) to defer hydrogen facilities and focus on natural gas.
NG offers the advantage of preventing more carbon dioxide discharge into our atmosphere in proportion to capital investment than the combination of hydrogen and fuel cells. We should look into the possibility of combining compressed natural gas, turbocharged 4-cylinder engines ("Eco-boost", as Ford calls it), and Prius-style hybrid technology to achieve further reduction of carbon dioxide discharge.
July 09, 2012