By on March 12, 2012

While both General Motors and Chrysler are putting their money on Compressed Natural Gas options for their pickup-truck lineups, Ford is going with pretty much everything but CNG as it examines alternative fuel strategies for future vehicles – and for now, the 3.5L Ecoboost V6 will be the standard bearer for light duty versions of the Ford F-Series.

(Read More…)

By on March 9, 2012

This is the Honda Civic GX, a vehicle that runs on propane and propane accessories compressed natural gas. Despite the Civic GX’s title as one of America’s “Greenest Vehicles“, the Civic GX is pricey, and CNG refueling stations are few and far between – apparently there are only 830 in the entire United States, with not all of them open to the public. Honda wants to change that – but it wants dealers to bear the costs, monetary and otherwise, of building new fueling outlets.

(Read More…)

By on March 8, 2012

A brief piece in the Wall Street Journal’s “Dealbook” discussed the potential of natural gas powered vehicles, largely as a way to stop falling prices for natural gas.

One hope for many natural gas producers reeling from collapsing prices is wider adoption of natural-gas-powered cars.

The biggest hurdle so far: lack of infrastructure to refuel them.

But Steven Mueller, CEO of Southwestern Energy, says if 10% of passenger cars were powered by natural gas, gasoline prices would fall by $1.60/gallon and gas producers would get 4 billion cubic feet/day in demand.

(Read More…)

By on November 17, 2011

Between the tsunamis, floods, and poorly-received Civic, Honda has had  a rough 2011. But the brand is hoping to put all that behind it by emphasizing its environmentally-friendly product portfolio, announcing a Fit EV which will be made available in California, Oregon and six east coast markets next summer. Unlike Nissan, however, Honda isn’t actually selling the electric commuter cars, but is offering them at a $399/month lease rate. And no wonder: Honda only expects 1,000 of these Fit EVs to find homes over the next three years, probably due at least in part to its north-of-$36k price point. Which may be why the natural gas-powered Civic GX just won the Green Car Of The Year award for Honda. It may not be as radical or purely “green” as a pure EV, but it can sell in volume… in fact, Wards Auto [sub] just reported that Honda is bumping production of the CNG Civic in order to catch up with demand. At a time when Honda is desperate for some good news (and nobody is losing their mind over the new CR-V), a little publicity for one of Honda’s most unique and under-marketed vehicles probably feels like manna from heaven…

By on July 2, 2011

This is the Maxximum G-Force. It holds all kinds of world records. And it runs on all-American natural gas! Something had to be natural in this video …

By on July 2, 2011

For a long time, taxis, trucks, delivery vans have been on the bottle. On a bottle of CNG, or Compressed Natural Gas.  Now, “major automakers like General Motors and Chrysler are gearing up to invest in companies that make engines and parts for vehicles that run on the fuel,” says Reuters. (Read More…)

By on June 28, 2011

Smell that? It’s the gathering scent of a new industry trend towards natural gas. Honda’s expanded its pioneering Civic GX to 50 states, Sergio Marchionne wants to replicate his Italian CNG success at Chrysler (eventually), and now GM is jumping on the bandwagon while it’s still relatively uncrowded. The Winnepeg Free Press reports that GM has signed a development deal with Vancouver, B.C.-based Westport Innovations which could see a prototype light-duty natural gas-powered engine completed “within 18 months” if preliminary study proves promising. A Westport spokesman boasts

If both parties agree to move ahead with commercialization this would be one of the first pure OEM [natural gas-powered] products

You know, except the Civic GX which has been prowling American streets since 1998. Still, with Chrysler targeting CNG commercialization no earlier than 2017, GM could have a strong head-start on a fuel technology that promises to be a viable and promising gasoline alternative, especially if the NatGas Bill [PDF] passes, expanding $7,500 plug-in tax credits to natural gas vehicles. And GM’s got a strong partner in Westport, which has heavy-duty commercial deals with Cummins and Caterpillar. With Nissan all-in on EVs and years ahead of the competition in terms of global EV production capacity, look for other competitors to hedge their alt-energy bets… and natural gas is rapidly becoming the most popular alternative.

By on June 27, 2011

Speaking of GM’s future lineup, there’s no sign in GMI’s 2013 projected lineup of the on-again-off-again Spark city car (A-Segment) that we had heard would be here now. Hell, they’ve had the cupholders ready since 2009. So what’s the Spark up to?
(Read More…)

By on June 10, 2011

A pair of studies, by MIT and the International Energy Agency [via GreenCarCongress] take a look at what is rapidly becoming a hot topic in the world of alt-energy transportation policy: the use of natural gas to power cars and trucks. If you’re intrigued by the car industry’s “forgotten” fuel source (and with Honda Civic GX models going on sale in 50 states and a possible $7,500 natural gas car tax credit going before congress this summer, you probably should be), hit the jump for some comprehensive information about the future of natural gas-powered transportation.

(Read More…)

By on May 4, 2011

 

For years now the Chinese automakers have been the bête noir of the global car industry, inspiring equal parts fear and contempt in boardrooms and editorial meetings from Detroit to Stuttgart. In an industry built on scale, China’s huge population and rapid growth can not be ignored as one scans the horizon for dark horse competitors. And yet no Chinese automaker has yet been able to get even a firm toehold in the market China recently passed as the world’s largest: the United States.

Certainly many have tried, as the last decade is littered with companies who have tried to import Chinese vehicles, only to go out of business or radically rethink their strategy (think Zap for the former and Miles/CODA for the latter). Others, like BYD (or India’s Mahindra), have teased America endlessly with big promises of low costs and high efficiency, only to delay launch dates endlessly. In short, a huge gulf has emerged between overblown fears of developing world (particularly Chinese) auto imports and the ability of Chinese automakers to actually deliver anything. No wonder then, that we found what appears to be the first legitimate attempt at importing Chinese cars to the US quite by accident…

(Read More…)

Recent Comments

  • Re: Capsule Review: Volvo 240GL Estate

    gzuckier - Plenty of room in the engine bay. You can actually change the oil filter from above. Sadly, the oil that drools out when you change the filter has the...
  • Re: Capsule Review: Volvo 240GL Estate

    gzuckier - The great aerodynamic scare of the 90s left both Volvo and Mercedes vainly pointing out that aerodynamics aren’t going to solve our fuel mileage...
  • Re: Capsule Review: Volvo 240GL Estate

    gzuckier - Fluky point of failure, although I don’t know why it isn’t more frequent; caught the very corner of the rear bumper on a wooden stake one day....
  • Re: QOTD: Which Manufacturer Has Most Lost Its Way?

    Giltibo - Funny. I drive a 2008 Accord Coupe (K24 5MT) and work with a few people who own 3-series BMWs. At similar mileages (about 140K – 80M), their...
  • Re: Capsule Review: Volvo 240GL Estate

    gzuckier - I see a parallel evolution in the 240, the Checker cab, and the 55/56 Chevies
  • Re: Capsule Review: Volvo 240GL Estate

    gzuckier - the early manuals were a 4 speed with electric OD; not sure when they switched to proper 5 speed. Lots of malfunctioning ODs out there. Typical Volvo fashion,...
  • Re: Capsule Review: Volvo 240GL Estate

    gzuckier - The steel parts are pretty durable; the electricals not so much, on the early models. No worse than most other cars, just that they would be the point of...
  • Re: Capsule Review: Volvo 240GL Estate

    gzuckier - I do not enjoy it in the snow, even with snow tires. Maybe it’s typical of RWD cars in that way; I’ve forgotten the cars of my youth. (Except my...
  • Re: Capsule Review: Volvo 240GL Estate

    gzuckier - Actually, according to the CAT scale at the local truck stop, an 89 240 weighs 2800 plus change, in daily driving around trim. Pretty lightweight,...
  • Re: Capsule Review: Volvo 240GL Estate

    gzuckier - It wasn’t until relatively recently that anybody was killed in a 240 crash in the US. (Don’t know about other countries). Of course, a lot of that...

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Staff

  • Contributing Writers

  • Jack Baruth, United States
  • Brendan McAleer, Canada
  • Marcelo De Vasconcellos, Brazil
  • Vojta Dobes, Czech Republic
  • Matthias Gasnier, Australia
  • W. Christian 'Mental' Ward, United States
  • Cameron Aubernon, United States
  • J Emerson, United States