By on April 13, 2011

There’s been a recent groundswell of interest in natural gas as a fuel for cars in recent months, marked by Honda’s decision to sell a natural gas-powered 2012 Civic in 50 states, Edmunds CEO Jeremy Anwyl’s public paean to the fuel, and the EPA’s relaxation of natural gas conversion regulations. Honda alt-fuel manager Eric Rosenberg enthuses to WardsAuto

We’re the Saudi Arabia of natural gas… Demand [for the Civic GX] has tripled, and that’s actual retail demand. Traditionally, fleet has been about 50% to 55% of demand, but now it’s dropped; now 80% of demand is retail.

And since Chrysler’s new guardian, Fiat, has plenty of (well-subsidized) natural gas experience in Italy, it’s no surprise that Chrysler’s looking to get in on the action (Chrysler’s own experience with the stuff was brief). In fact, just last year Fiat-Chrysler was pushing the idea of natural gas cars as a stopgap until its first EV (the 500) arrives in 2012. Now, presumably because the desired government help wasn’t forthcoming, Bloomberg reports that Chrysler is only promising gassy goodness “by 2017.” Now there’s an interesting way to jump on a bandwagon.

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12 Comments on “Chrysler Goes CNG… By 2017...”


  • avatar
    redmondjp

    Watch the look on the cashier’s face when you walk off the freeway into the mini-mart and ask for a 5-gallon CNG can . . .

    The towing industry will love it, love it!

  • avatar
    blowfish

    the down side is short range, in its hey day, u can have a tank to run 100 miles, but if people are comfortable with EV’s short range and no jerry cans  then CNG should be the lesser evil.

    20 some yrs ago it was gaining momentum, it was the LPG first, then suddenly nobody wanna to touch them. 

    With any gas ( no gasiline/ benzene) engine one really have to know how to set the timing, they’re not forgiving at all, they can blow up. As a LPG owner once told me. With Benzene engine one can play with it until it wont fire.

    I am a bit leery about if any leak do happen. LPG is heavier than air so when leaks it sank to bottom, whereas CNG is lighter so it goes up or trapped in ceiling if indoor.
    Many parkings do render Gas cars persona non grata. So u need street parking.
    So slapping her anywhere downtown will be a big challenge. Especially out with family or a date.

    Is more ideal to have dual fuel, but is not as easy to optimize to dual fuel, as one servant cannot serve 2 masters.

    • 0 avatar
      Michal

      Old LPG venturi systems did have problems: potential for backfires, low power and poor fuel economy.  Modern vapour injection systems are better, and liquid injection better again.  With the latter the engine burns only slightly more LPG than gasoline, but actually achieves more power.
       
      LPG may be rare in the USA but it’s very popular in Australia, South Korea and Europe.  25% of Poland’s cars run on LPG, the highest concentration in the world.
       
      With old venturi type systems the timing could never be set right: the system would usually run rich which is why many old LPG vehicles’ exhaust stinks.  Modern systems are fully EFI controlled and do not have any timing problems.
       
      Australia has around 700,000 LPG powered vehicles, and reports of vehicle fires connected with the LPG system are extremely rare.  More than a few of these vehicles are involved in serious accidents every year, but none is reported to have died due to leaking gas.

  • avatar
    pgcooldad

    Italy?

    Fiat Brazil, working with Magneti Marelli, has developed tetrafuel vehicles, and in Brazil it markets cars that run on gasoline, alcohol, any ethanol blend, or natural gas for several years.

    Canadian and Mexican gasoline, American Natural Gas, and start helping all these Caribbean and African countries develop sugar cane fields and we are on to something.

  • avatar
    Ryan

    I doubt Chrysler (as we know it) will be around in 2017…   

    • 0 avatar
      windswords

      Yea, if their sales keep going up 30% like last month, there’s just no future for them!

      • 0 avatar

        By the time this comes into effect car dealer terms and factory invoice prices will probably skyrocket since they will be able to argue that since the new cars will be much easier on you wallet when it comes to gas prices. Plus everyone will want want so dealers will be able to negotiate new car prices more in their favor rather than the favor of the buyer.

  • avatar
    gslippy

    I’m a fan of CNG cars in principle.  Where I live, some people have their own gas wells and could conceivably have free fuel and sell it to others.

  • avatar
    segar925

    I’ve had experience with CNG fueled vehicles with the government.  There’s no way in hell I’d ever buy one, the range is too short for them to be practical.  UPS drivers will tell you the same thing and their trucks have huge tanks.  There’s a reason liquid fuel is popular, it’s safest and most practical with more BTUs per cu ft.

  • avatar
    pacificpom2

    LPG has been used in OZ for years, the only fire hazard is when some clown puts a BBQ bottle in the boot that leaks. That goes boom, but the gas tank stay sane.
    I would say 90% of taxi’s in Australia are on LPG. In my 4.1 litre 6 cylinder falcon, with a 86l lpg tank would get me 400-500km on a tank (72 litres useables) plenty of range as the majority of fuel stations have lpg. The only place I would be wary of is outback, way outback.
    CNG has been used in New Zealand as well with compressors in the home to refill the car overnight. Holden and Ford (and Mitsubishi in days of old) havd/had LPG only or duel fuel options.

  • avatar
    joe_thousandaire

    I’d bite. I’m an unabashed Chrysler fan (no, really) and while I’d rather have diesels in America, that doesn’t seem to happening anytime soon. CNG is a great alternative, incredibly cheap, abundant, and it comes out of a tap at my house like water. I would really like someone to explain to me some advantage battery powered cars could possible have over CNG.
    As far as buying A natural-gas Chrysler for me it would really hinge on the companies support of the product and total investment in the technology. I wouldn’t want some one-off novelty whipped up just for publicity or green-cred. No diesel Liberty please, it would have to be spread across the model lineup, advertised and fully-backed. I’d need to see CNG models lined up at the dealerships ready to test drive, not just a few tossed around to the automotive press, which is what I assume will be the case.


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