Thursday, December 9, 2010

Fiat + Chrysler = U.S. NatGas Vehicle

Chrysler Group, LLC, with its partner Fiat Group, announced earlier this week that the company will focus on developing a consumer natural gas vehicle for the U.S. market.  This decision contrasts those of Nissan and GM, which have developed plug-in electric vehicles, the Leaf and Volt, respectively.

There is little information as to what specific types of vehicles Chrysler might make, but the company has indicated that it understands that fleet vehicles will be a better match for the U.S. market right now.  Because Fiat is one of largest makers of light duty natural gas passenger vehicles in the world, it is not a huge surprise that Chrysler is talking natural gas instead of plug-in electric.  Ultimately I expect to see Chrysler make natural gas passenger vehicles for the U.S. market.

I think this is a very smart move.  Natural gas vehicles will be cheaper than plug-in electrics and will ultimately be cleaner to use.  They generally have a longer range and can be fueled faster.  They are also not dependent on batteries.  Electric cars sound great, but when you have to plug into a grid fueled by COAL, you are worsening pollution and CO2 output, not improving it.

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