Chrysler Goes CNG… By 2017

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer

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.

Join the conversation
4 of 12 comments
  • SCE to AUX SCE to AUX on Apr 13, 2011

    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.

  • Segar925 Segar925 on Apr 13, 2011

    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.

  • Pacificpom2 Pacificpom2 on Apr 13, 2011

    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.

  • Joe_thousandaire Joe_thousandaire on Apr 14, 2011

    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.