Many automakers are betting that their cars of the future will be hybrids. Manufacturers like Toyota in Japan and Chevy in the US have pinned expectations on the hybrid technology that couples petrol and battery power. The battery pack and standard fuel combination has proved a popular tandem with those who want to reduce the automobile’s carbon footprint on the planet.
Fiat, however, is going a different way with their environmental technology. Fiat is bringing natural gas powered vehicles to the marketplace.
Fiat’s natural gas idea is about money, as they do not want to sink so much capital into the development of battery and petrol hybrids when they can count on their experience with natural gas autos to open up their own market?
Fiat already controls 80 per cent of the European market in natural gas vehicles with their flex fuel automobiles, which can utilize petrol or natural gas. Fiat has hinted around about creating a flex fuel automobile for Chrysler, but evidence points to them first going at the commercial market.
More than 50 per cent of all European natural gas light commercial vehicles are produced by Fiat. That includes everyday commercial vehicles like postal trucks and delivery vans.
Part of the problem with retailing natural gas automobiles in the U.S. is that there are only 1300 natural gas refuelling stations in the entire country. If Fiat were to begin its green American drive with light commercial vehicles, a central hub or depot could be created fairly easily for each business’s own independent refuelling needs.