Chrysler has announced that it will be bringing natural gas-powered vehicles to the U.S. by 2017, possibly utilizing technology already being used by its parent company, Fiat, in Europe.
The automaker reportedly sees the technology as a strong alternative to the hybrid and electric vehicles that many automakers are currently producing. Chrysler says that natural gas-powered vehicles are cheaper to produce and could potentially reduce emissions even further than electric models.
"The technology is very actively being worked on," Bob Lee, Chrysler’s vice president for engine and electrified propulsion systems, told Bloomberg. "It's a good way for some diversity in the market in terms of fuel use."
Currently, the only natural gas vehicle in the U.S. is the Honda Civic GX, although its only available in limited markets. Honda claims that the vehicle is more affordable and has longer range than electric competitors. Fiat, which owns a majority stake in Chrysler, sells multiple natural gas vehicles in Europe, as do other automakers.
Barriers to widespread adoption of natural gas models include a lack of fueling stations and large gas tanks that take up a lot of space in the vehicles.
Natural gas vehicles are still a long way off, so in the meantime, drivers searching for a fuel efficient model may want to instead opt for a used car from New Jersey State Auto Auction.