## Toyota To Display CNG-Powered Camry Hybrid Concept At 2008 Los Angeles Auto Show

##### 24 September 2008

Toyota Motor Sales (TMS), USA, Inc., will display a compressed natural gas (CNG) Camry Hybrid concept vehicle at the Los Angeles Auto Show in November. Honda is currently the only automaker with an OEM natural gas passenger vehicle—the Civic GX—on the US retail market.

In 1999 Toyota marketed a CNG-powered four-cylinder Camry to fleet customers in California. However, in an era of cheap gasoline, customers were not attracted to a vehicle that required special refueling techniques and a limited refueling infrastructure, according to Toyota, which discontinued the program a year later.

With the combination of plentiful long-term supplies in North America, improved and more efficient recovery methods, favorable pricing and clean-burn/low emissions characteristics, CNG has become a prime energy-source for the future. With this concept, we are confirming our interest in pursuing CNG within our broad and comprehensive R&D scope. Natural gas and an expanded retail-friendly CNG infrastructure could be seen as a model for future hydrogen infrastructure.

—Irv Miller, group vice president, TMS Corporate Communications

The benefits of CNG are currently being amplified by rapidly changing market conditions and an increase in consumer environmental awareness, said Toyota. At the same time its drawbacks are being mitigated by a growing awareness that advanced technologies will require investment in appropriate infrastructure.

The US CNG pipeline system is an approximately 1.8 million mile network and expanding. Currently, there are only about 1,000 CNG refueling stations nationwide, with less than half open to the public.

GM’s VP of Research and Development Larry Burns recently said the GM was also again exploring offering a natural gas vehicle solution in the US, initially in the form of a dual-fuel combustion engine approach, with future applications of natural gas to produce electricity for E-Flex models (Volt and future variants) and longer-term use as a hydrogen feedstock at filling stations or at people’s homes. (Earlier post.)

RAV4-EV program. Toyota made the CNG Camry Hybrid announcement at a Sustainable Mobility Seminar in Portland, Oregon, at which it also announced it will place four off-lease RAV4-EV battery-electric vehicles (BEV) in a new program in Portland, Oregon designed to assist in the development of clustered electric-charging infrastructure for the arrival of future zero- and low-emission vehicles.

The Portland initiative will be patterned after the UCI ZEV-NET shared-use, station-car program in Southern California. The Portland vehicles will be used as station cars for shuttling people from mass-transit terminals to downtown and suburban locations.

The program is being developed by Portland State University (PSU), in association with the University of California, Irvine’s (UCI) ZEV-NET (Zero Emission Vehicle-Network Enabled Transport) program. In late July, Portland General Electric (PGE) went on-line with its first free-standing public electric-recharging station, marking the event by recharging a Toyota Prius plug-in hybrid. On 22 September, PGE announced the installation of five additional plug-in charging stations—enough to charge 12 vehicles— the Portland and Salem area, with more on the way.

Price reduction on hybrid batteries. TMS also announced that it reduced pricing for first- and second-generation NiMH Prius hybrid electric vehicle (HEV) replacement batteries by more than 10 percent. The price of the 2000-2003 first-generation Prius battery has been reduced to $2,299, while the 2004-2008 second-generation Prius battery is reduced to$2,588. Prior to this most recent price reduction, both batteries were priced at $2985. Toyota also is studying the business case for remanufacturing Prius HV batteries in North America to further lower replacement costs. Resources ### Comments This is one of my dreams, having a clean burning and cheaper to fuel natural-gas car. It can be done to any car or truck, not just hybrid like this example. Im looking for a kit in my region, montreal canada, and there is seem none. What a shame, gas is even higher priced then in u.s.a. It should cost just 1000$ or so because its just an add-on tank plus some fittings.

WOW! I have owned three Camry's and have loved each one, just can't beat the quality, etc...I would almost instantly buy a CNG Camry and a home filling system and say goodbye to OPEC FOREVER!!!! :)

Ok, I get that NG is cleaner than oil. However, it is still a finite resource.

Peak natural gas

a.b:

We had 6 vehicles modified for CNG (with generous Fed Govr. subsidy) in the Montreal area in the post-1974 oil crisis.

Everything worked OK till temperatures fell below -20C. All those vehicles refused to start. The modification kits had to be removed. We never tried it again.

Be sure of good cold weather performance below going to CNG.

@ todd r. smith
Natural Gas contributes much less carbon to the atmosphere, and North America has a lot of it. It can come from landfills and sewage plants, and can even be made at home ('syngas')...... it's got a lot of advantages.
It's not a bad thing, we can use it until batteries/fuel cells are ready.

Good bye OPEC, hello ENRON. The names change but the scam artists remain. Now, it the Pickens scam.

Really people, you would think at least some of you would learn. If you are a victim of scam maybe it makes you feel better to blame ENRON, fine but if you do not learn anything you will be a just be victim again.

Where is the energy coming from and how is does it get to where you need it? If you happen to live in Iran or some other place with a glut of natural gas and poor air quality, go for it.

If you live in LA or Portland and think it is a good idea, let me suggest that you not smart enough to fuel a POV with natural gas. It is a scam.

"it is still a finite resource.
Peak natural gas"

No...bio-methane is not a finite commodity, it can be produced from waste and biomass for under $8 per million BTUs, the equivalent of gasoline at$1 per gallon.

@Jay & Bud

Natural gas is mixture of methane and heavier hydrocarbons like propane at 1000 BTU/1000 cubic feet. It is processed to remove impurities such as CO2 and H2S.

Biogas and producer gas (syngas) has a much lower BTU content thanks to all the nasties in it that will destroy an ICE in short order.

Biomass is also a finite resource but mostly it limited by those who are smart enough to make it work. Let me explain the magnitude. If all the dairy manure (the easiest biomass waste stream) in the US was converted to biogas it could replace one nuke. We would need 100 nukes (give or take) to produce the energy to replace fossil fuels for transportation.

Am a big advocate of biomass renewable energy but we need to train a new army workers who would rather shovel manure than play video games.

CNG cars is about employing drilling rig workers and building more pipelines. Same problem with finding workers but it is more likely we can drill our way out faster than grow our way out.

In any case, I am skeptical natural gas supply can be developed fast enough to keep up with existing demand.

Very nice.

Toyota, DON'T limit the availability of these CNG vehicles to any particular region. CNG burns just as efficiently in the Midwest as it does on the California coast.

Kit P

My comment above was regarding bio-methane (not bio gas, natural gas, producer gas etc), thank you for the irrelevant lecture.

Bio-methane has 1000 BTUs per cubic foot, the same as NG. Bio-methane is now produced in large quantities from biomass, i.e. energy crops such as hybrid sorghum, leucaena, miscanthus, moringa, arundo donax, corn stover, rice hull waste, MSW, sewage sludge for example.If all personal trans vehicles in the US were PHEVs equipped for CNG you could supply the country using cattails, duckweed and water hyacinth grown on constructed and remediated wetlands.There is potentially plenty of feedstock , enough to run a renewable energy economy about four times over without using cropland.

Upgrading and cleaning biogas to methane is expensive but included in the $8 number above. Biogas can (and is) being produced for between$2 and $5 per million BTUs. "GM was also again exploring offering a natural gas vehicle solution in the US, initially in the form of a dual-fuel combustion engine approach..." GM has the right idea with dual fuel. Both Ford and GM make dual fuel cars sold in other countries and could sell them here. Honda has the Civic GX CNG only car that has limited range and it sounds like the Camry and RAV4 are CNG only as well. I have to drive 20 miles to get to a CNG filling station here in Southern California and California has almost 200 of the 1000 CNG filling stations in the nation. That would make the Phill a nice accessory, but the price is$4200 before any rebates.

So, a dual fuel would be my choice. I can commute to and from work on CNG and do local trips on CNG. If I decide to go out of town on longer trips, I can run on gasoline with filling stations just about everywhere. The best of both worlds.

"GM was also again exploring offering a natural gas vehicle solution in the US, initially in the form of a dual-fuel combustion engine approach..."

GM has the right idea with dual fuel. Both Ford and GM make dual fuel cars sold in other countries and could sell them here. Honda has the Civic GX CNG only car that has limited range and it sounds like the Camry and RAV4 are CNG only as well.

I have to drive 20 miles to get to a CNG filling station here in Southern California and California has almost 200 of the 1000 CNG filling stations in the nation. That would make the Phill a nice accessory, but the price is $4200 before any rebates. So, a dual fuel would be my choice. I can commute to and from work on CNG and do local trips on CNG. If I decide to go out of town on longer trips, I can run on gasoline with filling stations just about everywhere. The best of both worlds. We need these cars, for some people like me who commute over 600 miles a week they are a no-brainer. I've been driving a GX now for over 2 years and have saved a ton of money on fuel, and saved time with solo access to HOV lanes. It's about time more people woke up and demanded CNG vehicles from the automakers, NOT them instead telling us what we need to buy that burns gasoline. I have owned two CNG cars for past two years, fuel at home, and am not adding worse pollution to the atmosphere. Not to mention in Oregon it costs me less than$1.60 per gallon equivalent, and the tax credits available for purchasing a CNG vehicle or home fueling unit.
Go for it Toyota...

To encourage the uptake of CNG vehicles nations with high fuel taxes need to promise a 10 year break. A further difficulty would be separating gas usage at the home or truck depot between vehicle and non-vehicle uses ie a home compressor would need its own metering device to monitor fuel tax.

As Pickens says the gas outlook for vehicles would be stronger if we didn't use it on tar sands or baseload electrical generation.

Wow Bud, that is fantastic. Do have a link?

Before passing along information provided by Bud that the planet has been saved let me check the meaning of some of the words Bud uses to make sure we are communicating.

“bio-methane is not a finite commodity”

Does that mean bio-methane is infinite? Or does he agree with me that the engineering to convert biomass makes it a small finite resource.

“now produced in large quantities from biomass”

Does large mean greater than 1% of the natural gas in US pipelines?

Does large mean large mean significant compare to the amount of biomass used to make electricity or liquid biofuels?

At the risk of lecturing Bud, if you have biomass you want to convert it into the most valuable product. Liquid transportation fuel first, then ammonia, then electricity with natural gas having the lowest commodity value.

Some emissions analysis of NG suggest cleaner burning (emissions) and desirability of burning as far better to liberating into the atmosphere.

However well to wheel emissions that include leaking pipes , cooling, compression and transport can diminish the greenhouse savings to close to that of petroleum fuels. With no savings where poor infrastructure maintenance and long transport with associated high costs.

Of course the best case scenario , well maintained pipes close to larger use industrial and dense population areas and projects that mitigate emissions and remove hazards from tip sites,industrial waste conversion, coal mine gases etc are a net benefit.

So the benefits appear to range from near zero to worse than conventional.

Peak NG???? What a bunch of STUPID NONSENSE!!!
I live in Central PA (Yes the land that Obama HATES!!!)
Anyway, we are sitting on top of TRILLIONS of dollars of worth of NG known as the Marcellus shale. I have a friend who just signed a lease at $40,000/acre and a 16% royalty agreement. Hmmmmm....can't imagine what all you hot shot city folk are going to say and do when all of the po-white-trash of Central PA become filthy rich. Appalachia will become the new OPEC of the 21st century! Your heard it here first! Sorry the above "near zero" benifits should read - near zero emission. ouch. Kit P The gist of my response was that we have four times more than we need. It can be produced for under$10 per million BTUs, it's a great source of end use energy. What more do you need to know?

Bio-methane is not a "finite resource", I was responsing to Joseph's comment. It is a function of how much biomass one can acquire, which of course is not infinite, but certainly a function that is dependent on an infinite resource: the sun.

It might be risky lecturing me, Kit: best pathways from biomass to end use energy in terms of production cost would be first solid, then gas then liquid. Torrified biomass (which equals coal's properties) and pellets are the least cost. Liquid is the most expensive and problematic for obvious reasons.

Methane is just a very good fuel, its production is straightforward and relatively inexpensive.

bud,

No sense feeding the troll. Kit P likes to argue and insult people. It is a shame that he is one here, but that is the way it is.

Sorry to keep repeating myself Bud, but methane is not a good transportation fuel. Second biomass is a finite resource. Third, biomass is a difficult fuel to convert to a transportation fuel.

How do I know this? Well Bud because nobody has demonstrated that I am wrong. Link please Bud?

Biomass is the largest source of renewable energy and has historically been used as a transportation fuel. However, it the dirties most dangerous fuel choice. It takes a great deal of expensive process equipment to convert it to a useful form. There are many good reasons to over come the problems but it is not a great source.

Bud has never had to comply OSHA and EPA regulations while converting energy to a useful form.

@sjc
I know, I've seen plenty of his posts. I would say about 75% of what he says is irrelavent nonsense and about 24% is factually incorrect. I agree it is a shame because there are probably many people who do have something of value to put on the site but are reluctant to do so because of him.

Second biomass is a finite resource.
Are you saying that once we use the biomass existing today, it's gone and there will be no more?  If not, what do you mean?
How do I know this? Well Bud because nobody has demonstrated that I am wrong.
BURDEN OF PROOF

You're Doing It Wrong

RC, there is a finite amount of biomass that can be utilized in a sustainable manner in any given year. I think we can easily supply 10% of our transportation energy with biomass with lots of hard work. If Bud knew of new slick way of doing it, maybe 20% in 10 years. Bud could even provide a link to this slick new technology.

So RC is right, the absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. I can not prove Bud, RC, or sjc are clueless.

I would prefer to discuss cool emerging technology. Unfortunately 90% it is a scam. I consider pointing scam public service. For those who are reluctant to comment because they be labeled clueless, hey what better place than on a blog.

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