Fiat, Italian auto giant who seems to be slowly absorbing every small-fish automaker they can find seems to be gearing up for building more models fueled by compressed natural gas (CNG). Normally, this wouldn’t make too much of a difference to us over here in the good ol’ U.S. of A. but with Fiat soon to be marching down the aisle with Chrysler, it’s worth paying attention to. CNG is mainly used in fleet vehicles in America. Lots of taxis, lots of cop cars, lots of delivery trucks run on CNG. There has been talk (mainly from oil company shills) that it would better from an infrastructure standpoint to offer more CNG fueling points, than to screw around with stuff like EV charging stations or working on hydrogen fueling. If there were to be more CNG filling stations, that would leave Fiat, and therefore Chrysler, sitting pretty.
In some parts of Europe, CNG is a popular fuel for several automakers. There are already CNG versions of the Grande Punto, Panda, Punto, as well as the Multipla and Doblò available from Fiat, and the Punto and Panda are both expected to form the basis of new small cars for Chrysler.
It’s not that CNG is without its merits. Compressed natural gas offers some advantages over gasoline and diesel as a fuel. It has lower CO2 emissions and emits practically no particulates.
More options are always better.
Photo from Flickr user Familie Gevaerts