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  • Hello from UK

    I'm a long time gas industry professional who, since 2001, has been promoting CNG vehicles in the UK. It has been hard work but we are finally making a breakthrough because of a number of factors:

     high oil price (the gas between oil and natural gas has never been as large as this)
     less use of natural gas in the long term for heating and electricity due to plans to generate electricity from wind and nuclear
     liquid biofuels out of favour due to impact on food prices and rainforests
     reduction in cost of making and moving LNG due to larger ships and re-gasification efficiencies
     CNG as most efficient way to store excess wind energy
     new and high quality NGVs being produced by OEMs
     the range issue has fallen away as vehicles become more efficient and OEMs hide CNG tanks under the floor
     EU taxation favouring low CO2 transportation
     EU target of 95 g/km for 2020 can be met with a CNG – hybrid, even for larger cars
     growth of biomethane as the first and most economic 2nd generation biofuel (ie not made from food crops)

    The new CNG Passat from VW comes out later in 2008 and will be the best CNG car ever made I think - with the Passat we are moving into new uncharted territory, smaller engine, turbocharged, range on natural gas of 420km with almost the same again from the petrol reserve. 0-60 in 9.3 seconds.

    Why aren't the US car companies making CNG cars....GM are for Thailand:

    http://blog.gmnext.com/?p=15&print=1#Print

  • #2
    Re: Hello from UK

    Why make efficient cars when you can make SUVs, vans and trucks?
    02 GX
    01 GX
    03 Crown Vic
    06 GX
    Home Fueler

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    • #3
      Re: Hello from UK

      I appreciate your question and I answer it with all seriousness:

      The American automobile companies (and the foreign ones who distribute cars here -- including VW) believe that, on the whole, Americans are stupid and too resistant to change to buy alternatively fueled vehicles. In fact, Ford and GM used to offer CNG vehicles for fleets only (lots of cabs in Socal run CNG), but they discontinued the program a few years back and they never offered them direct to consumers. You won't even see CNG as an option on GM's or Ford's alternative fuel web-site today. Since they believe that Americans won't buy them, they don't want to bother offering them. Honda is the only exception, and I suspect they are motivated to meet California and Federal emissions standards - Honda has never made enough to meet the demand.

      It hasn't helped that gas has been (and remains) relatively cheap compared to Europe. In my area (Southern Cal.) gas is still around $4.50 a gallon. Despite the fact that everyone's complaining, I'm still finding that most people are still driving 75-85 MPH on the freeway, even though they'd see a dramatic fuel economy improvement if they 55 MPH. If people won't slow down to save money (and possibly their own lives), they certainly won't spend more money for a car that has fewer refueling options, just to save the planet...

      I saw that both GM and Opal (GM's Europe division) were enhancing their CNG options in Europe. However, they've given no indication that they have any intention of making any of those products for the U.S. Market. While I really do like my Civic, I'd love to be able to get a sporty VW and a larger sedan.
      Last edited by advocate; 07-08-2008, 02:29 AM.

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      • #4
        Re: Hello from UK

        UK has been similar to US, no vehicles. Its only in 2008 that we are seeing new ones, white vans from VW and MB. Later this year in Germany, the new CNG Passat is being launched.

        My view is that VW’s CNG Passat will be the first quality mass produced and mass marketed CNG car ever built (the Honda Civic sold in the US has not been made in serious volumes and has the fatal flaw of no petrol fallback.)

        Volkswagen showed the new Passat at the Geneva Motor Show that uses both natural gas and petrol. That’s not new, but it’s the first time it has been combined with the VW TSI engine which uses both a supercharger and a turbocharger operating sequentially to provide high power (150 bhp), great economy, exceptional range (420km on CNG, almost the same again on petrol reserve) and meet Euro 5 emission standards from a small capacity (1.4 litre) engine. With a top speed of 130 mph and the capability to accelerate from 0 to 62 mph in 9.7 seconds, the Passat Estate TSI EcoFuel remains viable for everyday use and in most driving conditions the vehicle consumes 5.2 kg of natural gas every 100 km. We are moving into uncharted territory: the CNG Passat has the potential to be a transformational vehicle.

        I am sure Fuelmaker are trying to get this into the US. They may succeed.

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        • #5
          Re: Hello from UK

          Great to hear that VW is coming out with bi-fuel Passat for Europe!! I hope & pray that VW will also sell this cng vehicle in USA.

          As for USA automakers, they are on their last dying leg if they don't wise up quick. Ford is at 5-year low stock price of $4.50 a share today 7/8/08 and GM is not doing much better at $10 stock price. The market is SPEAKING LOUDLY that both Ford & GM had better change . . . and change quick!!!

          Also, GM could quickly help themselves by selling GM/Opel Zafira van here in USA - - - from what I've read, the Zafira is #1 cng vehicle in Germany.

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          • #6
            Re: Hello from UK

            Originally posted by baldwincng View Post
            UK has been similar to US, no vehicles. Its only in 2008 that we are seeing new ones, white vans from VW and MB. Later this year in Germany, the new CNG Passat is being launched.

            My view is that VW’s CNG Passat will be the first quality mass produced and mass marketed CNG car ever built (the Honda Civic sold in the US has not been made in serious volumes and has the fatal flaw of no petrol fallback.)

            Volkswagen showed the new Passat at the Geneva Motor Show that uses both natural gas and petrol. That’s not new, but it’s the first time it has been combined with the VW TSI engine which uses both a supercharger and a turbocharger operating sequentially to provide high power (150 bhp), great economy, exceptional range (420km on CNG, almost the same again on petrol reserve) and meet Euro 5 emission standards from a small capacity (1.4 litre) engine. With a top speed of 130 mph and the capability to accelerate from 0 to 62 mph in 9.7 seconds, the Passat Estate TSI EcoFuel remains viable for everyday use and in most driving conditions the vehicle consumes 5.2 kg of natural gas every 100 km. We are moving into uncharted territory: the CNG Passat has the potential to be a transformational vehicle.

            I am sure Fuelmaker are trying to get this into the US. They may succeed.
            If the bifuel Passat would make to the US as a wagon, I'd sell my Honda Pilot in a heart beat and buy one! Sounds like a great car.
            Adrian

            Navy 2008 Civic GX (wife's)
            Silver 2012 Toyota Prius
            Grey 2012 Civic Natural Gas (mine)

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