|T. Boone Pickens and Perseus Investing $160M in Natural Gas Vehicle|
By Katie Fehrenbacher
August 11, 2008
The green-tinged former oil baron T. Boone Pickens is such a fan of his
plan to have natural gas power a third of U.S. vehicles, he’s joining with a
fund to build and launch a new natural gas vehicle for U.S. roads. Pickens and
the natural gas distribution company he founded, Clean Energy Fuels, say this
morning they have joined with the investment group Perseus to support the
creation of a natural gas vehicle to the tune of $160 million. Clean Energy
Fuels and Pickens will each commit $10 million, and Perseus is leading the
investment; the Vehicle Production Group (VPG) will build the vehicle.
The group says the four-passenger vehicle will be used for taxi and paratransit
and will be available in both gasoline and natural gas versions as soon as 2010.
There aren’t many more details on the price or specs of the vehicle, but when we
learn more we’ll add it. Update: On VPG’s website it says it is working on a
vehicle called “The Standard Taxi,” and a Clean Energy spokesperson confirms
that this is the vehicle that the company has invested in.
Currently there are very few natural gas vehicles on U.S. roads, though we think
city fleets, transit vehicles and taxis are a good place to start. The most
well-known natural gas vehicle around is the consumer Honda Civic GX, which
costs $24,590 and is sold in California and New York.
There’s a reason there aren’t many of these natural gas vehicles out there yet —
the technology has a few hurdles to jump. First off, natural gas vehicles
commonly have a shorter range than their gas counterparts; the Honda Civic GX
has a fuel mile range of 170 miles. Secondly, there’s a lack of natural gas
distribution; according to the natural gas vehicle trade group the Natural Gas
Vehicles for America (NGVA) there are more than 1,100 U.S. stations. While
Pickens looks ready to invest in building out this infrastructure (he’s the
country’s largest private owner of natural-gas fueling stations through Clean
Energy Group according to this Newsweek article), it will need a lot more
investment than the funds of a green-leaning former oil guy.Yahoo! BuzzDigg
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