How many of you have heard of Vehicle Production Group LLC?  Well they are selling as many cars as Tesla or Fisker or Coda, the new electric vehicle manufacturers. But rather than going electric, as Green Car Reports notes, its vehicles run on gasoline or compressed natural gas. Since production began in September 2011, VPG has built more than 2,500 MV-1s in the US, a six-passenger wheel chair accessible automobile. See the MV-1 photo above. VPG’s MV-1 car is sold through 84 dealers, and the company hopes to raise that total to 150. Here is the company’s website.

Vancouver, Canada truck engine maker, Cummins Westport, has announced it will have a medium-sized compressed natural gas (CNG) engine available for 2015 we hear from FleetOwner. The ISB6.7 G engine is designed for the school bus, medium-duty truck and vocational vehicle markets. The engine will run on compressed natural gas (CNG), but the natural gas may be stored on the vehicle in liquefied natural gas (LNG) state or as CNG. Cummins Westport will also have an 8.9 litre and an 11.9 litre natural gas engines to serve larger motor vehicles. See also Truckinginfo  Cummins Westport Plans Natural Gas ISB6.7 for 2015.

Cummins Westport says it does not need US government grants or tax incentives to be profitable, something unique among automobile makers these days. Reuters reports the natural gas engine manufacturer thinks these incentives can be a disincentive to technological innovation as the regulatory process to obtain the incentive delays investment. Westport develops technology that makes engines operate on clean-burning fuels such as compressed natural gas (CNG), liquefied natural gas (LNG) and renewable natural gas fuels.

Natural gas engines to power trains?  Energy & Capital writes about Canadian National Railway’s plans to test locomotives running on cheaper and cleaner natural gas to take advantage of the natural gas revolution in North America. The company has retrofitted the diesel engines in two of its locomotives to run on 90% natural gas and 10% diesel. The locomotives will travel the 298 miles between Edmonton and Fort McMurray, Alberta to test the fuel mixture. The railway company is also involved with several other companies in a project to develop a new locomotive engine that runs on natural gas and a tank car to carry the gas.

NGV Global News informs us that Norwegian company Island Offshore Management has taken delivery of another vessel equipped for operating on liquefied natural gas (LNG) alone. Island Contender is the sistership to Island Crusader, also LNG-powered, delivered this past May. Both are platform offshore supply vessels for North Sea oil and gas operations and the first in the world to operate without diesel. The vessels have  2 larger natural gas engines which can be used alone or together in all operational situations as well as 2 diesel engines if more power is required.

FleetOwner looks at the operating costs and payback for fleets switching to natural gas vehicles.

AUTOWEEK reviews the 2012 Honda Civic CNG. Meanwhile CarTrade tells us about Hyundai Motor India’s new CNG models.

The city of Houston, Texas hosted the inaugural conference on using natural gas to fuel high horsepower operations like rail, marine, mining, drilling, earthmoving and power generation. Over 700 representatives of these industries from around the globe attended the conference according to The Sacramento Bee. Firms using natural gas have been able to reduce their fuel costs by 30% to 50% and minimize their gren house gas emissions.

NGV Global News refers to a new studyNatural Gas as a Transportation Fuel: Business Models for Local Distribution Companies — that enables local distribution companies to better understand the commercial and regulatory considerations involved in entering the NGV refueling market in the United States. You can access the study here at the American Gas Foundation website.

A report by Global Industry Analysts, Inc. predicts unprecedented acceptance of natural gas vehicles. From Torque News we learn environmental concerns, governmental mandates and rising personal income in emerging nations will lead to widespread use of natural gas as an automotive fuel. The Middle East is forecast to see the fastest growth in NGV adoption, followed by the Asia-Pacific and Europe. The Asia-Pacific region currently accounts for the largest population of NGVs worldwide. You can access the study here.

Propane Autogas also made the news.  Next Generation Transportation writes about the slow and steady growth for this fuel – also known as liquefied petroleum gas or LPG. A total global market of about 1 million vehicle conversions annually in 2012 will grow to nearly 1.4 million in 2020. Most regions will have limited growth of between 2% and 4%, with only the Middle East and Africa region showing a more substantial compound average growth rate of 7.6%. In North America, the growth will also exceed 7%, but the numbers will remain relatively small, as that market will largely reflect adoption by fleet operations.
The same source observes that a propane autogas station has opened in the US city of Waterloo, Indiana and that the city of Mobile, Alabama has converted 30 police vehicles to this fuel.  The city also installed a fueling station for city vehicles. Mobile has a total of 60 propane autogas fleet vehicles, including 30 public works vehicles that were converted from gasoline. The state of Pennsylvania will also have propane autogas outlets. The state has entered into an agreement with Alliance AutoGas to build at least seven refueling facilities throughout the state.




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