Recently natural gas vehicles received additional funding from the federal government. The House of Representatives voted highly in favor of a bill reauthorizing the Department of Energy's natural gas automotive research program. The bill passed with a vote of 393 in favor and only 35 against. The passing of the bill provides an additional funding of $150 million over the course of the next 5 years into research of natural gas vehicles.
All seems great, more funding for natural gas. But how does this effect vehicles that we talked about here. Natural gas has nothing to do with EVs or hybrid, or does it?
It turns out that several automakers have pondered over natural gas hybrids. And at least one automaker, Toyota, has a working concept hybrid that runs on natural gas. The Toyota Camry natural gas electric hybrid works in a similar manner to a gasoline powered hybrid, the only real difference is the fuel that provides power for the internal combustion engine.
The limits for natural gas vehicles right now are similar to the limits for EV. There is little supporting infrastructure to refuel the vehicles just as there is a limiting infrastructure for recharging EVs.
New incentives have been proposed by legislators that would give buyers of CNG vehicles tax breaks similar to EVs. If the proposed incentives pass into law, there may be demand for this type of vehicle.
Several automakers have natural gas vehicles on the road, but the Toyota takes it a step further by offering the efficiency of natural gas with the addition of a hybrid powertrain.
With the bill passing through the House easily, all that remains is for the Senate to approve the bill. Some funding within the bill would be set aside to develop additional refueling stations across the country.
The House and Senate are typically partisan in their votes for countless things, but the natural gas research has seen strong bipartisan support. It is expected to pass the Senate. If the bill passes, automakers will have yet another option in fuel efficient cars.
With high incentives comes strong demand and as consumers seek CNG vehicles, automakers will build them. Now all we need is in home refueling stations and we can cheaply and conveniently refill our CNG hybrids or CNG EREVs in our driveways.