The Brussels Motor Show 2020 is here. This year, it is a so-called ‘private car salon’ focusing on private car drivers, who are looking for alternatives more and more explicitly. They want to check out electric or hybrid cars of course. However, CNG is getting more and more attention too, especially now that new models are entering the market and the network keeps expanding considerably in Belgium and its neighboring countries. A review of the situation is imperative.
The number of CNG cars is gradually increasing towards 20,000 registered units
The number of registrations of CNG cars in 2019 rose to the level of 2018. This increasing trend will most likely accelerate again in 2020. Experts are talking about twice as many registrations. Maarten Van Houdenhove, PR officer at DATS 24, explained: “The market is moving again. In 2020, several new models will enter the market. Early 2020, Skoda will introduce a CNG version of its recently presented Scala. They are also launching the Skoda Kamiq on CNG. It will be the 2nd compact SUV on natural gas after the Seat Arona.”
Car manufacturers keep focusing on CNG
The other manufacturers are also confirming their confidence in CNG as a fuel. “Audi is reintroducing the A5-sportsback in a g-tron motorization, in addition to their A3 and A4 models, which were already reintroduced as a CNG variant after the WLTP episodes. And VW, which launches the Golf 8 on the market, confirms that CNG motorization will be available. At SsangYong, they sound the same note. The new Tivoli remains available with CNG engine. They also expect a lot from the SsangYong Korando on natural gas”, said Van Houdenhove.
Seat’s General Import Manager Gert Van Leeuw highlighted: “We have seen a boom in CNG sales in recent years: in 2018 the number of sales doubled compared to 2016. In 2019 our CNG sales already increased by 24% compared to last year. Our most popular TGI models are the Arona and Leon, which together account for over 76% of our Belgian CNG sales. 2020 will be an important year. Our CNG offer will remain an integral and important part of our strategy for the future.”
CNG network continues to expand considerably in Belgium and Europe
DATS 24 really stirred the market and is now running 75 of the 135 CNG stations in Belgium. Colruyt Group’s fuel supplier will continue on the same track in 2020. They plan to open 11 new CNG stations in Brakel, Mechelen, Wommelgem, Pecq, Frameries, Halle, Herstal, Wilrijk, Boutersem, Ben Ahin and Doornik.
Total Belgium also jumps on this wagon and announced that it will open a new CNG station a month in 2020. Almost all other fuel suppliers are starting to build CNG facilities at their filling stations. CNG is also coming on fast in other European countries as well, with ambitious expansion plans in France, Germany, Spain and Italy. Moreover, the fuel plays an increasingly important role in making road traffic greener.
Natural gas makes mobility much greener
A recent study carried out by the Commission for Electricity and Gas Regulation (CREG) concluded that natural gas is very important to green transport. According to this study, driving on CNG emits up to 31% less CO2 and reduces particulate matter and NOx emissions by around 75%. After battery-electric cars and hydrogen cars, the CNG car therefore achieves the highest eco-score, before the hybrids.
The French study bureau IFP Energie Nouvelles confirmed this order of climate and environmental benefits of CNG. The authors state that in a WTW approach (Well to wheel, i.e. including extraction and production of the fuel or energy) CNG scores a lot better than diesel and petrol. In addition, bio-CNG scores at least as well – if not better – in terms of CO2 emissions as electric driving.
The will to achieve green mobility is sincere
People looking for a new car are wondering whether to choose a diesel or petrol car. The desire for greening is increasingly present. Their absolute prerequisite is not having to sacrifice comfort and user-friendliness. Moreover, not many people are prepared to pay more for a clean car. “And that’s the strength of natural gas for driving,” commented Raf Flebus, Business Unit Manager at DATS 24.
“Air quality worries us, especially in Flanders. The motorist really wants to be greener, but maintaining his well-known comfort and at no extra cost. CNG cars offer major advantages: they are cheaper, they can be used everywhere and they contribute substantially to a healthier environment,” added Flebus.
Source: DATS 24