US production of natural-gas vehicles is nothing new (Ford just announced a CNG F-150 today), it's not a huge market segment here. Nissan is banking on some pretty steady demand in Thailand, though, where the Japanese automaker is introducing a compressed natural gas (CNG) version of the Navara (known here as the Frontier) pickup truck, Green Car Congress reports. Nissan's first bi-fuel CNG motor will supply 154 horsepower and 178 lb-ft of torque to the truck. Nissan says "running costs" will be about a third of a standard gas engine's.
Natural gas adoption is on the upswing in both Europe and Asia as more regions look to find an alternative to importing petroleum from the Middle East. Last month, Navigant Research (formerly Pike Research) said that the number of natural gas vehicles on the world's roads will almost double to 34.9 million in 2020, up from 18.2 million this year. This increase will be driven by vehicles across the world, from Audis in Germany to Yo Autos in Russia to Zaps in China. Fiat-Chrysler is also likely to be big proponents of CNG as CEO Sergio Marchionne says natural gas is better than electricity.