|Annual sales of NG trucks and buses by segment, world markets: 2012-2019. Source: Pike. Click to enlarge.|
Pike Research expects the global market for natural gas (NG) trucks to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 14% between 2012 and 2019, reaching 111,319 sales in 2019. Pike expects medium-duty (MD) trucks to be the largest of the truck markets, growing to 85,848 vehicle sales; heavy-duty (HD) truck sales will reach 25,471 vehicles.
The company expects the market for NG buses to grow at a CAGR of 19% during the same period. Asia Pacific is the largest NG bus market, accounting for 86% of NG bus sales by 2019, according to Pike. While the North American and Western European markets will see strong NG bus growth (10% CAGR), Asia Pacific will see growth rates of 21% with India, China, and Thailand leading the region in NG bus sales.
This growth is being fueled by economic growth following the global slowdown of the last few years, increased vehicle availability, environmental benefits, and the desire for increased energy security.
The market research firm also anticipates strong growth in Europe and North America due to the high costs of diesel fuel and increasingly strict government emissions restrictions.
Although NG trucks typically run on compressed natural gas (CNG) because their tanks weigh less and are less costly than those for liquefied natural gas (LNG), LNG trucks are increasingly used as longer range vehicles (400 miles or more compared to 150 to 300 miles for CNG).
Currently, the worldwide breakdown of refueling stations for these two types of natural gas is 117 LNG refueling stations versus 20,233 CNG refueling stations, according to Pike. About 45% of the LNG refueling stations are located in the United States, even though China has the largest number of annual sales for LNG fueled trucks, with 3,020 vehicle sales anticipated in 2012.
Pike expects the rebounding construction industry to push growth in the overall truck market. Other strong targets for NG trucks are the refuse market and transit bus market; both are seeing significant growth in NG despite relatively flat overall markets in North America. As cities expand in the Asia Pacific markets, the construction, refuse, and transit segments are all seeing strong growth.