Equal Opportunities for all the Green Technologies

Jon LeSage, Edi­tor

I’m see­ing nat­ur­al gas vehi­cles, pri­mar­i­ly com­pressed nat­ur­al gas (CNG), enter the are­na with elec­tric vehi­cles as a viable alter­na­tive fuel and tech­nol­o­gy ver­sus inter­nal com­bus­tion engines. See the arti­cle below on Eaton and Gen­er­al Elec­tric enter­ing the space, devel­op­ing home refu­el­ing sta­tions for nat­ur­al gas.

I don’t see oth­er alter­na­tive fuels – specif­i­cal­ly propane auto­gas, bio­fu­els, and hydro­gen – get­ting any­where near the atten­tion, resources, and finan­cial back­ing right now. EVs and NGVs don’t have it easy – none of the green tech­nolo­gies do. They’re all com­pet­ing more direct­ly with high MPG cars. And hybrids are more viable in sales num­bers than the oth­er cat­e­gories, but they’re still a small part of new vehi­cle sales.

There’s clear­ly no easy answer for any of these green tech­nolo­gies to break through the sales bar­ri­ers with speed. Experts on the sub­ject tell me that things have changed dra­mat­i­cal­ly in the past cou­ple of years, in terms of automak­er sup­port of adding more of these vehi­cles to their pipelines. Some­times this means mul­ti­ple ver­sions of one car – which Ford is doing with hybrids and plug-ins, and Hon­da has done with the Civic in ICE, hybrid, and nat­ur­al gas ver­sions.

Of course, pub­lic edu­ca­tion is vital for these obsta­cles to be over­come. What­ev­er fears con­sumers and fleet man­agers have about pur­chas­ing these vehi­cles need to be effec­tive­ly addressed through sur­vey reports, ride and dri­ves, whitepa­pers, deal­er train­ing, and more.

Editor’s Note: Spe­cial thanks to Jake Mil­lan of Pro­pel Fuels for his com­men­tary on fuel cost sav­ings and emis­sions reduc­ing options for fleets.

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