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Summary:

The green-tinged former oil baron T. Boone Pickens is such a fan of his plan to have natural gas power a third of U.S. vehicles, he’s joining with a fund to build and launch a new natural gas vehicle for U.S. roads. Pickens and the natural […]

The green-tinged former oil baron T. Boone Pickens is such a fan of his plan to have natural gas power a third of U.S. vehicles, he’s joining with a fund to build and launch a new natural gas vehicle for U.S. roads. Pickens and the natural gas distribution company he founded, Clean Energy Fuels, say this morning they have joined with the investment group Perseus to support the creation of a natural gas vehicle to the tune of $160 million. Clean Energy Fuels and Pickens will each commit $10 million, and Perseus is leading the investment; the Vehicle Production Group (VPG) will build the vehicle.

The group says the four-passenger vehicle will be used for taxi and paratransit and will be available in both gasoline and natural gas versions as soon as 2010. There aren’t many more details on the price or specs of the vehicle, but when we learn more we’ll add it. Update: On VPG’s website it says it is working on a vehicle called “The Standard Taxi,” and a Clean Energy spokesperson confirms that this is the vehicle that the company has invested in.


Currently there are very few natural gas vehicles on U.S. roads, though we think city fleets, transit vehicles and taxis are a good place to start. The most well-known natural gas vehicle around is the consumer Honda Civic GX, which costs $24,590 and is sold in California and New York.

There’s a reason there aren’t many of these natural gas vehicles out there yet — the technology has a few hurdles to jump. First off, natural gas vehicles commonly have a shorter range than their gas counterparts; the Honda Civic GX has a fuel mile range of 170 miles. Secondly, there’s a lack of natural gas distribution; according to the natural gas vehicle trade group the Natural Gas Vehicles for America (NGVA) there are more than 1,100 U.S. stations. While Pickens looks ready to invest in building out this infrastructure (he’s the country’s largest private owner of natural-gas fueling stations through Clean Energy Group according to this Newsweek article), it will need a lot more investment than the funds of a green-leaning former oil guy.

By Katie Fehrenbacher

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  1. WOM

    Waste of money! The natural gas vehicle is an experiment that has died. Pickens should move on…

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  2. greensolutions Monday, August 11, 2008

    Pickens apparently doesn’t understand that not only will natural gas production peak (as crude oil already has) but it will peak much faster than crude oil. We already have a large enough crisis looming with our dependence on natural gas for home heating and cooking. Why make it worse? Why invest in a technology that’s doomed to fail?

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  3. Whoa that is one ugly car!

    They would spend less going for a natural gas drop-in module like the hymotion pack, but for conventional cars.

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  4. Any new car design should also be a plug-in hybrid. Methane for vehicle fuel is reasonable, because it can be readily produced from biomass, much more so than ethanol. But that doesn’t mean you should waste it on a car design that uses a fuel so wastefully. It needs to be a PHEV.

    A PHEV that can run on renewable methane (or NG) as well as having a small gasoline tank is all we need.

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  5. [...] this week it also came out that Pickens is getting into natural gas vehicle development, too. Pickens and the natural gas distribution company he founded, Clean Energy Fuels, joined with the Perseus fund to invest $160 [...]

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  6. [...] NBC Bans Pickens Ad, Boone Responds Written by Craig Rubens No Comments Posted August 27th, 2008 at 3:37 pm in Big Green The Pickens Plan media blitz hit a glitch this week when NBC refused to air the latest television spot promoting the former oil tycoon’s natural gas and wind energy plan. The 15 second ad, entitled “Iran” and embedded below, asserts that Iran is converting its own cars to run on natural gas “and we’re not doing a thing here.” NBC wants the Pickens plan to prove that we are indeed a do-nothing nation when it comes to natural gas transport, the Pickens Plan says. While it is a strange nit to pick, NBC has a point. Things are being done, some of them by Pickens’ own natural gas car venture. [...]

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  7. Lack of natural gas distribution? I’ve got natural gas delivered to my home right now!

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  8. Who do we believe,who do we trust? I would like to understand and know all the true facts and not someones gloom and doom or someone elses get rick quick skeem. It sounds like Pickens is on the right track, but humon nature makes me ask why is he pushing this issue, I can only hope the answer to that is “for the better of this great country.”
    We all need to do something in this Country to turn it around or the normal Joe is going to be in deep dodo in the future if he/she is hard working or not. Seem we can not count on our present govenment (the oil CEO’s) to help us out with this matter.
    Michael Krause

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  9. DARRELL PYBURN Monday, September 8, 2008

    i would like to know how to invest with t boone pickens

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  10. [...] make a lot more money if he can convince you to go with natural gas to power cars and other stuff. T. Boone Pickens and Perseus Investing $160M in Natural Gas Vehicle Earth2Tech __________________ [...]

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