Toyota recently unveiled its natural gas version of the Camry sedan at this year’s L.A. Auto Show. This is major news from a company that has prided itself on the use of alternative energy. This is a car that needs not one drop of gasoline to run.
Toyota says that with the car’s current hardware, it makes 170-hp and has a range of roughly 250 miles! More than enough to satisfy 90% of the driving public. This is also a hybrid though. The 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine is mated with Toyota’s Hybrid Synergy Drive technology. But then, the conventional gasoline engine is replaced with the compressed natural gas (CNG) system. The CNG tanks are located in the space of the spare tire and hold about eight gallons of natural gas. Together they give out the equivalent of 33mpg without using a single drop of dino-fuel!
Toyota added some new body panels and 19” wheels to dress up the car for the auto show, but the most important bit was left out. When, and how much? These were the main questions that Toyota could not fully answer. It’s still a "concept", but the goods are all there. All we need now is an infrastructure to support it. Toyota says that currently there are less than 1,000 natural gas stations open in the U.S, with about half of those open to the public. Those numbers are going to have to grow if this technology is to be supported on a widespread basis.
Source: Auto Week
Photo: Toyota Motor Co.