NGV Advocates Are Prodding the U.S. Automakers to Action
Six popular consumer vehicles converted to run on compressed natural gas and gasoline were unveiled at ACT Expo in Washington D.C. today as the second stop of a national roadshow designed to bring CNG to the driving public.
None of the vehicles is available to the public, yet – but they form the backbone of a campaign to share the vision of using America’s vast resources of clean-burning natural gas for consumer cars, said Marty Durbin, president & CEO of America’s Natural Gas Alliance.
“We need to start the conversation with the public, automakers and policymakers,” he said, to create demand from the ground up.
Kathryn Clay, executive director of the Drive Natural Gas Initiative (a collaboration between ANGA and the American Gas Association), says the roadshow will travel to at least three more large-scale venues this year, as well as to the Kansas State Fair in the fall – “We would love to do more of that sort of event,” she said.
Ride-and-drives are planned with policymakers at the state and federal level.
Clay noted that of the 15 million CNG vehicles worldwide, only one percent are operated in the U.S.
Designed for the Consumer
The six cars in the roadshow are fitted with small CNG tanks that will provide 80% of the driving needs of the average American, she said. They range from muscle cars to SUV to premium sedans.
The NGVs will help free the consumer from the gas station too, as it will be possible to fuel with CNG at home. And the small size of the CNG tank doesn’t compromise room in the trunk.
Four of the cars – the Ford Mustang GT, Hyundai Sonata, BMW X3 and GMC Acadia Denali – were upfitted by Michigan’s CarLab. The Chrysler 300C Award and Honda CRV were done by Landi Renzo USA.
CNG range varies from 55 miles in the Mustang to 180 miles in the Honda, and ANGA’s projected cost of the conversions – assuming automakers can move 20,000 units (not a wild prospect given the success of hybrids) ranges from $2,800 to $4,800.