The natural gas vehicle market experienced a growth spurt in late 2013 driven by lower fuel costs and environmental benefits over diesel, a trend that is expected to continue next year as new engines and vehicles are introduced, according to an analysis by Navigant Research.
Overall, the markets for natural gas trucks and buses are expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 12.6 percent and 6.4 percent, respectively, between 2013 and 2022, the report says.
Several new engines are coming on the market in 2014, which should spur sales. The Cummins Westport joint venture is launching a 12-liter NG engine that will fill a void in North America and is expected to provide robust growth for the day cab market, says Navigant Research.
The report, Natural Gas Trucks and Buses, projects by 2022 there will be nearly 1.9 million natural gas-powered trucks and 1.8 million natural gas buses globally.
Nearly 400,000 medium duty and heavy duty trucks and buses will be sold in 2022 with Asia Pacific consuming 76.2 percent of the global market, according to the report. North America is forecast to buy 12.7 percent and Eastern Europe 8.6 percent of the natural gas medium duty and heavy duty trucks and buses market.
The growth will be driven by four key factors: the economic benefit, increased availability of the vehicles, lower emissions and an expansion of the refueling infrastructure.
For instance, on average, the price of compressed natural gas is about 42 percent of diesel. With that price difference, the payback period for heavy duty trucks can be as short as 1.5 years in North America.
Earlier this year, the research firm forecast the number of all types of natural gas vehicles on roadways worldwide will reach nearly 35 million by 2020. Navigant Research says light-duty vehicles account for the vast majority — about 95 percent — of NGVs on roads today. However, trucks and buses are growing at a faster rate and will likely account for 9 percent of the total fleet by 2020.