Global annual light duty natural gas vehicle sales will grow from 2.3 million vehicles in 2014 to 3.8 million in 2023, according to a study by Navigant Research.
Natural gas supplies have increased in many parts of the world during recent years due to new pipelines and hydraulic fracturing. This increase has led to reduced prices for natural gas and the wider geographic availability of vehicle refueling, according to Light Duty Natural Gas Vehicles. As a result, interest has been renewed in utilizing natural gas as a transportation fuel to reduce both the use of oil and greenhouse gas emissions, the study says.
Momentum in the light duty natural gas vehicle market has been particularly strong in Asia Pacific and North America. The number of light duty natural gas vehicles on the road is expected to grow dramatically during the next 10 years in the key markets of China, India, Thailand, and the United States. While mature markets like Italy and Ukraine are anticipated to see growth, demand for light duty natural gas vehicles in European countries will remain relatively uneven from country to country.
However, the market for such vehicles is not homogenous around the world or even within regions. In North America, the market is heavily focused on fleet purchasers, while in parts of Western Europe, Latin America, and Asia Pacific, the consumer market plays a much bigger role, the report says.
Whether a particular market is focused on fleets or private consumers has a significant impact on the natural gas vehicles available. In North America, the fleet market for natural gas vehicles remains relatively small, so most original equipment manufacturers are content to rely on vehicle conversions by upfitter companies that complete the conversion prior to customer delivery, the report says.
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, according to a Navigant report released in December.
Several new engines are coming on the market in 2014, which should spur sales. The Cummins Westport joint venture is launching a 12-liter natural gas engine that will fill a void in North America and is expected to provide robust growth for the day cab market, the reports says.