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.