Last week, Mazda CEO Masamichi Kogai said that the company had no plans for a production Wankel rotary anytime in the near future, though the company most identified with the engine that goes “hmmmm” will continue to do research on rotaries. Now, at the Tokyo Motor Show, Mazda is showing that its future powertrain plans include diesel, natural gas and hybrid drives.
In the dark days of the polio epidemic era, those who were stricken by the virus the hardest were left to spend the rest of their lives inside an iron lung. This medical device mimicked the way the human lung draws in and expels air through negative pressure. One version, the Both respirator, was briefly linked to the automotive industry when William Morris built 1,700 of the iron lungs, donating them to hospitals throughout the then-British Empire.
Chrysler’s version of the human lung isn’t meant for polio patients, but for the CNG-burning Ram 2500 and, perhaps, beyond.
With a few successes under Ford’s strap with the American buckle, the Blue Oval made be known its aspirations to go for the world championship belt in ferrying drunk revelers and harried air travelers with their Transit Connect Taxi in its debut in Hong Kong.
Looking to take advantage of the natural gas boom currently occurring in America, Chevrolet will market a bi-fuel version of its Impala sedan starting next year.
Starting with the 2014 model year, for the first time Ford will be offering F-150 buyers the option of running on compressed natural gas or liquid propane gas in addition to gasoline. When you order the F-150 with the 3.7 liter V6 engine, the factory will install a CNG/LPG prep package that includes hardened valves, valve seats, pistons and rings. The actual conversions would be done by six CNG/LPG conversion companies that have been certified by Ford as “qualified vehicle modifiers”. As long as the conversion is done by one of those six firms, Ford will honor all factory warranties on the engine. Depending on the size of the fuel tank that’s installed, the cost of the conversions will be between $8,000 and $11,000 a vehicle, but running on gas can be significantly cheaper than running on gasoline or diesel, and the cost of the conversion can be more than paid back over the life of the vehicle.
Fiat and Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne finds it “most shocking” that the U.S. auto industry is not throwing its might behind natural gas, which has been found in abundance in the United States: (Read More…)
“We do not need incentives for natural gas technology to drive adoption,” Bill Larkin, CFO of Westport Innovations, a Vancouver-based developer of technology that allows truck and bus engines to run on natural gas, told Reuters in an interview:
“It actually hurts the investment in this technology because the U.S. government has been dangling this carrot … and so investments are delayed.” (Read More…)
Cars that use little or no gasoline seem to have a bit of a hard time, no matter how badly people want them. 22 states decided to do something unusual: They tell American carmakers to make natural gas-powered vehicles, and the states will buy them for state fleets. (Read More…)
Westport Innovations has just signed a second deal with General Motors to produce light duty natural gas engines, and it’s probably not the last time we’ll be seeing these kind of partnerships forming. Natural gas vehicles have been explored previously on TTAC, but the technology hasn’t been fully explored in-depth, aside from some well-informed comments in various articles.
Since 1998 Honda has been quietly producing one of the cleanest vehicles in America. In 2001 the EPA called its engine “the cleanest burning internal combustion engine in the world.” No, it’s not a hybrid, it’s Honda’s Civic Natural Gas (formerly known as the Civic GX). Until now, the Civic Natural Gas has only been available for retail sale in a handful of states like California and New York. For 2012, Honda expanded sales to 37 states and lent us one for a week.
Compressed natural gas may cost the equivalent of $1.89 per gallon of gasoline, but retrofitting your GMC Sierra or Chevrolet Silverado will cost you $11,000 – and GM still think it will save you money.
If you’re traveling to Oklahoma City any time soon, Herz will give you the option of renting a Honda Civic or GMC Yukon that runs on Compressed Natural Gas.