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Commercial Fleets Will Power Global Natural Gas Vehicle Market Through 2016

Worldwide sales of natural gas vehicles are expected to grow rapidly over the next five years, to 3.2 million units annually by 2016 from 1.9 million in 2010, according to a recent report from Pike Research. Three-quarters of the new growth between 2010 and 2016 will come in corporate and government sales.

There are currently about 12.6 million natural gas vehicles in use worldwide, and sales of NGVs vary widely from region to region and country to country. The majority of NGVs are located in Latin America, the Middle East, and Africa, particularly in countries like Pakistan and Iran that lack extensive gasoline refining capacity. In North America, due largely to a lack of convenient refueling stations, demand for NGVs is largely relegated to the fleet market.

As a portion of the worldwide total, the percentage of commercial NGVs will rise from 59% to 65% in that period, according to senior analyst Dave Hurst.

“Many manufacturers and industry observers are looking forward to the time when consumer NGVs become the next big thing,” says Hurst. “But the number of refueling stations remains too low for the consumer market to really take off in many parts of the developed world.”

One solution to the current inadequacies in NGV infrastructure is the spread of bi-fuel vehicles. Popular in Latin America, where almost 90% of NGVs have bi-fuel engines, these vehicles can run on either gasoline or compressed natural gas.

India, which has one of the largest fleets of CNG buses in the world, is expected to overtake Iran for the lead in NGV sales by 2014. By 2016 there will be 612,000 NGVs in India, according to Pike Research’s analysis. The strongest growth, however, will occur in the United States, where a compound annual growth rate of 25.4% will result in nearly 33,000 vehicles sold in 2016.

Pike Research’s report, “Natural Gas Vehicles,” provides a comprehensive examination of natural gas vehicle technologies, compressed and liquefied natural gas shipping and storage, governmental incentives and regulations, and key drivers of market growth.

The report includes forecasts of NGV sales, refueling infrastructure, and natural gas usage through 2016 for light-duty vehicles and medium/heavy duty trucks and buses. Key market players are also profiled. An Executive Summary of the report is available for free download on the firm’s website.

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