The manufacturer aligned with Exxon, Gazprom and other companies to sign a declaration of intent.
Volkswagen is taking a bigger step towards the world of Compressed Natural Gas (CNG). The automaker has signed a joint declaration of intent with CNG filling stations and gas networks to expand CNG usage in Europe. The effort will be focused in Germany, with a goal of increasing CNG fleet vehicle usage to 1 million cars by 2025. To support that increase, the initiative also aims to more than double the number of CNG filling stations from 900 to 2,000 in the same timeframe.
The effort will apply to both cars and trucks, including public transportation in major cities. And though Germany is the primary focus of the initiative, the effort will be promoted throughout Europe.
"Due to its purview, Volkswagen Group recognizes its considerable social responsiblity with regard to the energy revolution,” said Dr. UIlrich Eichorn, Volkswagen’s head of research and development, in a press release. “Its short-term availability makes natural gas an important component of our overall strategy for eco-friendly mobility of the future. Owing to the addition of methane from renewable resources, the propellant can gradually become even greener.”
We could get a bit vicious here and say VW would likely never have taken this step if dieselgate hadn’t happened. CNG is a cleaner burning fuel source by far compared to gasoline or diesel, and with the fuel being readily available thanks to new harvesting techniques, there’s certainly a strong case to expand its usage. The long-standing oil lobby has certainly been a factor in that not happening over the years, but with electric vehicles gaining both range and popularity by the day, going CNG can provide the short-term solution VW implies – bridging the emissions gap until electric technology is dialed in.
With gasoline and diesel still holding strong in the United States – and with the Trump administration casting all kinds of uncertainty about the future of emission standards – it’s highly unlikely Volkswagen’s CNG efforts will make it across the pond.