Volkswagen would like to join Honda in selling compressed natural gas cars in North America. What’s stopping it? The same old saw – infrastructure. They want governments to help realize a natural gas future.
In Europe, VW has already made a version of the Golf available in compressed natural gas (CNG) for the last decade. It has also developed a CNG-fueled variant of its Up minicar. However, in Germany alone, there are 900 natural gas refueling stations distributed over a much smaller geographic area, as opposed to the United States’ mere 600 and Canada’s 80.
As the second largest European manufacturer, VW has spent a considerable amount of time and expense designing cars that can accommodate a variety of powertrains – including gasoline, diesel, CNG, electric, plug-in hybrid and ethanol. It’s especially important to them because they could easily supply us with vehicles built from its Puebla, Mexico plants, if the market demanded it.
But that’s where the issue is.
That’s why this year, VW executives met with regulators from the EPA and California Air Resources Board to encourage and support the building of CNG stations.
Jonathan Browning, CEO of Volkswagen Group of America, said natural gas should be eligible for more credits under fuel economy standards. Moreover, it has cleaner tailpipe emissions – reducing carbon dioxide emissions by about 20 per cent. “We have the technology available,” he said.
And though natural gas seems to be finding a market for commercial, industrial, and municipal service vehicles that refuel at a single location, uptake in the public sector has been sluggish. In fact, Honda, which sells a natural gas version of its Civic has been offering new buyers a $3,000 fuel card, as an incentive.
What would get you to buy a natural gas car? Let us know in the comments section provided below.