Natural gas vehicles are expected to grow more popular over the next few years, with worldwide numbers reaching 35 million by 2020.
In the US, the numbers will be smaller, but that hasnít stopped the Big Three from rolling out new vehicles and engines with the ability to burn natural gas. Fordís 2014 Transit Connect, E-Series vans, and F-Series pickups will all offer CNG packages. Similarly, GMís Chevy Silverado and Chryslerís Ram 2500 will feature bi-fuel capability. On the passenger car side, Honda continues to market the Civic Natural Gas Vehicle.
Weíve collected photos of CNG and bi-fuel vehicles -- just a few among the many that now exist around the globe. From compact cars to powerful pickups, we offer some of best of recent years.
Click on the image below to start the slideshow.
The 2012 Honda Civic Natural Gas car (formerly known as the Civic GX) has been offered to fleet customers nationwide since 1998. It uses the same 1.8-liter, four-cylinder engine as the Civic Sedan and Coupe models. Running exclusively on CNG, the engine uses a compression ratio of 12.7:1, compared to 10.6:1 in the Civic Sedan engine. (Source: Honda)
Oh gosh, I can remember using CNG on road vehicles more than 25 years ago. It was a large E-250 van with a conversion kit that basically put new jets in the carb, and bolted on a different fuel tank system. The fuel tank was a very large thing on the side of the vehicle and filling it required gloves to prevent frostbite.
We called it "The Rolling Bomb" because we were never too sanguine about having a large tank of natural gas under pressure under the side of the vehicle. One crash could make for a spectacular explosion. Mind you, we were young and ignorant in those days, but still knowlegable enough to know what a large tank of propane can do. The van performed reasonably well, but I was always very nervous driving it.
I would hope that these vehicles are carefully tested for crash-worthiness and that the propane tanks are able to hold sufficient fuel to actually get somewhere.
Next: Let's see someone build a fuel cell with CNG and use it to power the vehicle electrically. I'll bet that will give the Otto cycle folk a run for their money...
Natural gas vehicle introduction will erradicate the problem of exhaustion of natural resources. Toaday vehicle used much fuel then used in home. So such intrduction of natural gas is a big boon for today's world.
Here are a few more numbers from Navigant Research's study. In 2013, U.S. sales of natural gas vehicles is expected to be 26,700. Italy will be 161,000, Ukraine 112,000, Pakistan 254,000, China 421,000, Iran 450,000. The compound annual growth ratefor natural gas vehicles is expected to be 16% through 2020.
The numbers will definitely increase, but the pecentages will still be small. Even if we reach 35 million vehicles on the road worldwide by 2020, it will still only amount to about 2.3% of the overall. And most of those will be outside the U.S. (The number of vehicles on the road by that time will be 1.5 billion.)
Californiaís plan to mandate an electric vehicle market isnít the first such undertaking and certainly wonít be the last. But as the Golden State ratchets up for its next big step toward zero-emission vehicle status in 2018, it might be wise to consider a bit of history.
By now, most followers of the electric car market know that another Tesla Model S caught fire in early February. The blaze happened in a homeownerís garage in Toronto. After parking the car, the owner left his garage. Moments later, the smoke detector blared, the fire department was called, and the car was ruined. To date, no one knows why.