Natural Gas Deserves Support According to DOE Announcement

There are plenty of corporations, automobile manufacturers, and private parties in the world that continue to develop new and exciting green transportation technology every day. However, it is nice to see every once in a while when the government decides to step in to try and develop some of these technologies hand in hand with the automobile manufacturers to show their support for the technology.

Last week, the United States government did just that when the Department of Energy announced that they would be providing a $50 million loan to The Vehicle Production Group LLC for the development of a new reduced emissions vehicle. The vehicle, called the MV-1, is meant to be a six passenger, handicap accessible multi-purpose vehicle that will run entirely off compressed natural gas. The MV-1 is being designed around natural gas in order to provide a vehicle with reduced emissions and without any need for oil. While it is unknown exactly who the MV-1 will be marketed towards, the fact that it is handicap accessible and large enough to carry a fair amount of people could make it popular with the government itself or companies seeking ways to transport employees.

Steven Chu, the United States Energy Secretary, said that he believed it was important for the government to show support for this project in order to prove that natural gas vehicles are worth developing. Secretary Chu also made it clear that supporting the project, which is to be carried out in its entirety at the Mishawaka, Indiana AM General Plant, meant creating jobs in the automotive industry. According to the group running the project, the project at full capacity should be able to produce roughly 22,000 vehicles annually while creating 100 jobs locally in Indiana and over 800 jobs throughout the country at suppliers and manufacturers connected to the project.

Whether or not this show of support will spur on the natural gas vehicle industry is unknown, but it is still interesting to see the government showing support for other alternative fuel methods even while others like electric or hydrogen dominate.

Photo Credit: Idaho National Laboratory