A new report from Pike Research forecasts that the global natural gas vehicle (NGV) sector is poised for a new period of growth. The cleantech market intelligence firm forecasts that the number of NGVs on the road worldwide will grow to 17 million vehicles by 2015, up from 9.7 million in 2008. Globally, Pike Research forecasts that the NGV market will grow at a CAGR of 5.5% to reach just more than 3 million vehicles (including conversions) by 2015.
Light-duty NGVs are not readily available in North America and parts of Asia, and are, in many cases, completely unavailable to private owners, the report notes. Conversely, in Pakistan, Argentina, Brazil, Iran, and India—the top five markets for NGVs—there are a variety of light-duty NGVs available. The reasons for NGV market growth vary for each country, according. In g to the report, which identifies four key demand drivers for NGV adoption:
Economics. The fuel has to be cheaper than gasoline/diesel to recover the additional cost of the vehicle within a reasonable amount of time. This is the most important factor, the Pike report says.
Environmental benefits. NGVs have substantially lower GHG, CO2, and NOx than gasoline or diesel.
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.
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
While Hurst projects that China’s overall vehicle market is projected to remain strong with a CAGR of 6.9% between 2008 and 2015 (compared to 2.7% for the United States), he 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.