General Motors' director for global powertrain advanced engineering
GM showed its Zafira fuel cell car in Paris. Is this the great hope for alternative fuels?
It is one avenue of thought - but not an easy or cheap one. We have a global infrastructure for gasoline and diesel fuel in place. No one is going to build up a hydrogen equivalent. So we will have to reform gasoline or methanol onboard into hydrogen. The best source for methanol is natural gas in compressed form.
The infrastructure for natural gas exists in practically in every household. We cook with it and heat with it. Cars could be fuelled at a natural gas outlet in front of the house or at any gas station converted to CNG.
Would it be costly to adapt existing engines?
It is a relatively inexpensive process. What's more, CNG is more environmentally friendly than gasoline and produces fewer emissions. CNG engines can also adapt easily to the new requirements which come with modern drivetrains, offering good low-end torque right from the start. CNG is the great hope.