Compressed natural gas-powered vehicles could see their sales grow tenfold in Europe by the end of the decade, Natural and Bio Gas Vehicle Association in Europe told Automotive News Europe. Matthias Maedge, deputy secretary general of the association, said that they believe gas is the “next big thing in transport.”
NGVA expects the number of CNG-powered vehicles in Europe to surge to between 10 million and 12 million – most of which will be passenger units -- by 2020 from just 1.2 million now. That growth, however, will be dependent on the government incentives as well as a surge in the number of CNG stations across Europe.
Likewise, natural gas is much cheaper than gasoline. As of September 2014, the average price for CNG across Europe was 79 cents, while the average prices for gasoline and diesel were EUR1.49 and EUR1.39, respectively according to NGVA data. The association also notes that CNG is a low-carbon dioxide fuel that can be easily mixed with biogas to improve its environmental credentials.
However, new models fitted with standard CNG tanks are still limited in numbers, although Volkswagen has committed to offer more gas-powered vehicles under its TGI badge. VW has launched its Golf TGI compact earlier this year to join three other model lines with CNG versions -- the Up minicar, Touran minivan and Passat midsize.
VW’s Seat brand also offers CNG versions of the Mii microcar and Leon compact while the Audi marque offers a G-tron badged version of the premium A3 compact. The Skoda brand offers a CNG variant of the Citigo minicar and the Octavia compact under the G-Tec badge. Mercedes-Benz, meanwhile, is already offering a B-class Natural Gas Drive compact to its midsize E-class NGD car.