Cleantech research firm Pike Research forecasts growth in natural gas vehicles (NGV) on the road worldwide to 17 million units by 2015, up from 9.7 million in 2008. Pike Research forecasts that the NGV market will grow globally at a CAGR of 5.5% to reach just over 3 million vehicles (including conversions) by 2015.
The top five markets for NGVs are currently Pakistan, Argentina, Brazil, Iran, and India. Pike Research anticipates India will be the fastest-growing NGV market with a CAGR of 18.4% between 2008 and 2015. This rapid expansion will largely be due to the availability of refueling stations and the growth of government emissions rules in large cities in India.
Despite growth of the market as a whole, the US NGV market is expected to remain dominated by fleet sales to government and commercial customers (89% of sales in 2015). Pike expects the CAGR for US NGV sales to be 17.7% between 2008 and 2015, which translates into 31,347 vehicles (including conversions) sold in 2015.
In general, the demand drivers for NGV adoption come down to four key drivers, according to the report:
Economics. The fuel has to be cheaper than gasoline/diesel to recover the additional cost of the vehicle within a reasonable amount of time.
Environmental benefits. NGVs have substantially lower GHG, CO2, and NOx.
Energy security. In most regions, the use of natural gas as a transportation fuel is for the purpose of reducing the usage of imported crude oil or imported refined gasoline.
Availability. The fuel, vehicles, and repair technicians have to be readily available or the market will not grow.
Although economics is the most important of these drivers for all markets, the report says, the others also play a key role. Indeed, the other drivers take center stage in some specific markets (e.g., governments may mandate that NGVs be used to provide cleaner air quality).
Governments, fleet managers, and consumers are increasingly recognizing the environmental benefits of lower emissions from natural gas vehicles. However, lack of refueling station infrastructure has inhibited NGV demand in many countries. In regions where NGVs have strong market performance, adoption is largely due to a combination of inexpensive natural gas, a large number of existing refueling stations, and government subsidies of vehicles, fuel, and infrastructure.
— Dave Hurst, Pike Research
Pike Research’s report, “Natural Gas Vehicles”, analyzes the opportunities and challenges facing NGV cars, light trucks, and medium/heavy duty trucks. The report includes an assessment of compressed natural gas (CNG) and liquefied natural gas (LNG) vehicle technologies, and it also examines key drivers of demand with both fleet customers and private consumers.