Vehicles using conventional fuelshas been predominantly used all over the globe. Apart from being expensive, these fuels are major cause of environmental hazards. Some of the major countries such as US and Italy are now focusing on the other form of fuels. The primary reason behind this shift is to reduce the import dependency on foreign countries, which is burdening the economy. The recent price fluctuations in fuels have affected the major world economies. Hence to avoid any adverse effect the countries are focusing on reducing the usage of conventional fuel especially crude oil. These factors have accelerated the growth in alternative fuel’s market.
The alternative fuel is fast replacing the conventional fuels in transportation, chemical, agricultural and industrial sector. The transportation section consist of many companies offering vehicle altered to suit alternative fuels. The alternative fuel vehicle can be divided on the basis of fuel used such as biodiesel, biomass, propane, electricity, hydrogen, non-fossil methane, non-fossil natural gas, and ethane among others. On the end user basis this market can be segmented as government vehicles, private fleets, industrial transportation and domestic user’s vehicle. The government vehicles and the private fleets have the largest share in the alternative fuel vehicle’s market.
Alternative fuel vehicles are majorly dependent on the fuel used for their performance and distinct advantages. Propane is widely used alternative fuel that has been an effective vehicle fuel for decades. The electricity based vehicle provides an attractive prospect by offering easilychargeable and noiseless urban transportation. It comes in three types as all-electric, hybrid electric, and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles. Biodiesel is a domestically produced renewable fuel. Its physical properties are similar to petroleum diesel.
However they provide a cleaner alternative through less emissions. Ethanol made from corn and other plant materials is used with gasoline for vehicles. Hydrogen is not a very widely known alternative, but can be one of the least emission causing fuels. The alternative fuel vehicle’s market has slow growth, but is projected to pick up pace in the coming years as the natural gas and other alternative fuels reserves are being produced in abundant. The availability of fuel locally and the corresponding efficiency of engines provides a major advantage for the consumer. However the high cost of fuel, less availability of charging station and lack of awareness act as the major hindrance in the growth of alternative fuel vehicles.
North American region is the most attractive market for alternative fuel vehicle. The various regulation by US government to control the emissions and import of fuels has proved advantageous for the alternative fuels. The government of many countries such as US, China and Italy are providing the alternative fuel vehicles buyers various incentives to boost the sale. Asian manufacturers such as Toyota and Hyundai are among the pioneer companies in this market. Among the European countries, Italy has the major share in the sale of alternative fuel vehicles. The government and privately fleet vehicles are being converted to switch to alternative fuel at accelerated rate.
Most of the vehicle manufacturers are offering alternative fuel based vehicles today. Some of the major players in this market are Ford Motor Company, Jaguar Land Rover Limited, Toyota Motor Corporation,Hyundai Motor Company, Nissan Motor Co., Ltd., Honda Motor Co., Ltd., Shell International B.V., BYD Company Limited, Daimler AG, Honda Motor Co., Ltd., and Mitsubishi Motors, among others.