Mercedes to Test the US Market with Natural-Gas Vehicle

Launching a natural-gas powered vehicle during recession times sounds like a pretty good idea but Mercedes says it must test the market first and then decide whether to proceed to mass-production or remain focused on gasoline and diesel engines. Mercedes will display a model running on compressed natural gas this week at the Washington Auto Show, Autonews wrote today, while William Craven, general manager of regulatory affairs for Daimler's Washington office, confirmed the German manufacturer plans to test the local market with such a production.

Industry officials discussed at a meeting before Washington the possibility to rely more on alternative fuel sources and less on gasoline and diesel units. Johan de Nysschen, executive vice president of Audi of America Inc., insisted the United States government may push Detroit 3 close to collapse with their requirements, as Ford, GM and Chrysler are now required to focus on the development of small-displacement engines that produce a lower fuel consumption compared to previous models. De Nysschen explained that Detroit 3 “could end up trying to sell vehicles that don't make economic sense,” the aforementioned source reported.

In addition, Richard Kolodziej, president of Natural Gas Vehicles for America, said the United States automotive industry has a big advantage in the natural gas supplies as a lot of automakers could rely on this source of power with reduced costs. Moreover, natural gas is climate-friendly, clean-burning and economic, Kolodziej he added.

Mercedes is already selling a B-Klasse model in Europe that can use both gasoline and compressed natural gas but, similar to North America, it just aims to test the market, according to William Craven. However, it's not yet clear whether Mercedes plans to bring the same vehicle in the United States, obviously with several adjustments, or to release a brand new model for this side of the market.
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About the author: Bogdan Popa
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Bogdan keeps an eye on how technology is taking over the car world. His long-term goals are buying an 18-wheeler because he needs more space for his kid’s toys, and convincing Google and Apple that Android Auto and CarPlay deserve at least as much attention as their phones.
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