Toyota revealed the Camry CNG Hybrid concept, which explores the idea of combining Hybrid Drive technology with natural gas power. It debuts this week at the Los Angeles Auto Show, and is easily identifiable, thanks to its bland looking grille-free front section.
Normally, all Hybrid cars have a petrol engine. In this case, rising fuel costs have made CNG a much more attractive option for consumers, and Toyota is hoping to add the cheaper fuel to its "portfolio of alternative fuels".
A company spokesman said that CNG could take its place as a primary fuel source in future, however, there are currently no plans to put this concept into production.
Most CNG applications provide worse mileage than petrol as well as slower acceleration, but considering the price of petrol these will be of little concern to potential customers. Because of the huge reserves of CNG and the dwindling supply of petrol, CNG's cheap price of around $2.50 per gallon is expected to easily offset any mileage issues that potential motorists may face. It is cleaner, with lower CO2 emission levels than both petrol and diesel.
The benefits of CNG is currently being amplified by rapidly changing market conditions and an increase in consumer environmental awareness.
2008 Toyota Camry CNG Hybrid Concept Image Gallery