• Sep 24th 2008 at 2:58PM
  • 21
A standard Camry hybrid

Hybrid vehicles are increasingly becoming mainstream, but so far all of the production units available on the market have used gasoline exclusively as the fuel for the internal combustion engine. Various manufacturers have also shown concept and one-off test hybrid vehicles with diesel and E85 capable flex-fuel engines. One combination we don't recall seeing is a CNG fueled hybrid. Toyota plans to address that oversight at the LA Auto Show in November with a CNG fueled Camry Hybrid. Vehicles running on compressed natural gas are nothing new, although the only one currently offered by a major automaker in the US right now is the Honda Civic GX. Since CNG vehicles have a shorter range, they have primarily been used by fleets with centralized filling stations. Toyota has built this vehicle as part of its wide ranging sustainable mobility strategy. With domestic supplies of CNG being comparatively plentiful, something like a CNG hybrid sedan could be a good option for someone who does most of their driving locally. Combine it with the Phill home fueling station and you'd never have to go to a gas station again. Press release after the break.

[Source: Toyota]



PORTLAND, Ore., Sept. 24, 2008 – Toyota Motor Sales (TMS), U.S.A., Inc., announced here today at its Sustainable Mobility Seminar that it will display a compressed natural gas (CNG) Camry Hybrid concept vehicle at the Los Angeles Auto Show in November.

"With the combination of plentiful long-term supplies in North America, improved and more efficient recovery methods, favorable pricing and clean-burn/low emissions characteristics, CNG has become a prime energy-source for the future," said Irv Miller, group vice president, TMS Corporate Communications. "With this concept, we are confirming our interest in pursuing CNG within our broad and comprehensive R&D scope."

In 1999 Toyota marketed a CNG-powered four-cylinder Camry to fleet customers in California. However, in an era of relatively cheap gasoline, customers were not attracted to a vehicle that required special refueling techniques and a limited refueling infrastructure and the program was discontinued a year later. Currently, there are only about 1,000 CNG refueling stations nationwide, with less than half open to the public.

The benefits of CNG are currently being amplified by rapidly changing market conditions and an increase in consumer environmental awareness. At the same time its drawbacks are being mitigated by a growing awareness that advanced technologies will require investment in appropriate infrastructure. The U.S. CNG pipeline system is an approximately 1.8 million mile network and expanding.

"Natural gas," adds Miller, "and an expanded retail-friendly CNG infrastructure could be seen as a model for future hydrogen infrastructure."

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 6 Years Ago
      @ Viginia Wolf,

      You should do a little research before you put it down. CNG is not a new tech matter of fact it is one of the oldest tech's around.

      Many part of the country have a CNG pump around and just dont know it.

      My wife and I both drive chevy cavaliers as commuter cars, they both run on CNG. I get about 31-33 miles per gge and CNG is $1.14 a gge (gasoline gallon equivelant).

      2 years ago I went from spending $80-$100 a week in fuel to spending $10-$12.

      Also its very clean and its local. Where is the bad?
        • 6 Years Ago
        The bad part is that it is made by Toyota. IF GM or Ford did this it would be a very good idea.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Between the CNG tank and the batteries where the hell are you going out the 2.5 golf bags? I have to see this thing to believe it. Either way I'd rock it, i don't play golf and i have a CNG station in my city and i pack light.
        • 6 Years Ago
        @ Tim:

        My thoughts exactly. Two co-workers have recently bought new Camrys, one a Hybrid, the other a CE bare-bones 4-cyl. Both perfectly nice transportation appliances, but the small trunk on the Camry Hybrid would be a deal killer for me (actually, neither are my cup of Mobil 1; I want versatility of a hatchback or wagon). I’m curious as to where the CNG tank will go; it would have to be big enough to allow a reasonable cruising range (250-300 miles), but small enough to keep the already tiny trunk on the Hybrid from getting even tinier.
      • 6 Years Ago
      (I could be wrong, but...) I was told that almost all gas stations are pre-piped with CNG and are only lacking the dispensing pumps. CNG could be very widely available with relatively little reinvestment. Also, from what I hear, CNG is plentiful on our continent.. no shipping or wars required.
      • 6 Years Ago
      THE PERFECT UTAH CAR...our CNG is only 80cents/gal here. The people running around in CNG Civics drive about 200 miles on $6 worth of CNG fuel. You're almost driving it for FREE.
      Bring it on Toyota...someone needs to start making more CNG cars because Honda only imports 500 CNG Civics per year into the US, not nearly enough!
      • 6 Years Ago
      • 6 Years Ago
      In Europe, some manufacturers offer dual LPG (alternative to CNG) / gas fuelled vehicles. Buses are converted to CNG en-masse and aftermarket for legal conversion to gas/LPG is booming, especially in Central and East Europe. Gas station offering LPG are common, even in Britain.
      Conversion to LPG is rather simple job, and since a car can be switched from LPG to gas at random, there's no reason why it couldn't be combined with battery of cells.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I'd hate to see the trunk. Big old battery, big old CNG tank. No trunk left.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Fits the same market segment as the plug-in electric car. The lowest total "well to wheel" carbon equivelent emissions of any of the technologies out there (biofuels included). It is a domestic fuel. It's cheaper to fuel up by a long shot. You can get slow fill at home at night, or a fast fill and the soon to be expanding network of stations. It also lets somebody else pay for the higher priced imported and renewable fuels.
        Dollar cost average...get one of these and the hot rod you want.
        Should it be American, yes. Slap a CNG tank on the Volt and you have a winner....
      • 6 Years Ago
      About time somebody else gets in the game. Good for them, and us.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I'd rather have the Dodge EV....

      I'm just sayin'.
      • 6 Years Ago
      • 6 Years Ago
      haha now CARB will have to make a new level of cleanliness... The civic GX is already the cleanest vehicle on sale in the world... there will be almost no emissions from a CNG electric hybrid... but there will most likely be no trunk either... the battery packs already take up a good chunk of the trunk and anyone who has seen the Civic GX trunk knows that this camry will literally have no trunk.
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