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Honda Natural Gas Civic GX On Sale in New York State

19 October 2006

2007_civic_gx_sedan_101
2007 Civic GX.

American Honda Motor announced the availability of the natural-gas-fueled 2007 Honda Civic GX for the New York State market. The Civic GX will be on sale at five Honda dealers on Long Island and fourteen additional dealers throughout the state, marking the first time the Civic GX is available for retail sale outside of California.

The Civic GX is the only dedicated natural gas-powered passenger car available to retail customers in the United States.

Equipped with a 5-speed automatic transmission, the 1.8-liter, 4-cylinder engine delivers 113 hp (84 kW) and 109 lb-ft (148 Nm) of torque, both an increase of more than 10% versus the 2005 model. The 16-valve engine uses a compression ratio of 12.5:1.

The Civic GX carries 8.0 gas gallon equivalent of natural gas at 3,600 psi (248 bar) and achieves an EPA-estimated city/highway fuel economy of 28/39 miles per gasoline-gallon equivalent. Honda pegs the maximum range at 200 miles.

The Civic GX achieves a Federal Tier 2 Bin 2 and California AT-PZEV emissions rating (as does the Civic Hybrid), but the GX also is certified to the Federal Inherently Low Emission Vehicle (ILEV) zero evaporative emissions certification standards—the only vehicle certified by the EPA to both Tier 2 Bin 2 and ILEV.

Currently, natural gas is approximately 30% less expensive than gasoline when purchased at a refueling station, and approximately 50% cheaper than gasoline when supplied by a Phill, the natural-gas home-refueling appliance manufactured by FuelMaker Corporation.

2007 Civic GX buyers are eligible for a Federal tax credit of $4,000 for the car and an additional $1,000 in tax credits for the purchase and installation of Phill.

October 19, 2006 in Natural Gas | Permalink | Comments (35) | TrackBack (0)

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So how much does a Phil set you back?

The 2007 Civic GX, which achieves an EPA estimated city/highway fuel economy of 28/39 miles per gasoline-gallon equivalent and carries an MSRP of $24,590.

http://biz.yahoo.com/prnews/061019/lath104.html?.v=55

Very impressive economy of natural gas. 50% the cost of gasoline! I'll bet that wide-spread use of natural gas at the pump will bring down pump prices to near the home Phill level. $24,590 ain't bad either for a limited production vehicle. With mass production, I'll bet that the price will come down to near gasoline Civic level. Natural gas can come from renewable sources, thus reduces petroleum dependency.

But, I'm surprised that at a compression ratio of 12.5, the fuel mileage is not better than the gasoline Civic version. Perhaps that has to do with lower flammability of natural gas in a lean mixture. Perhaps the addition of 10-20% of H2 by volume will further increase the fuel efficiency of natural gas vehicle by enabling a leaner mixture.

The most surprising thing of all is that how come there aren't more natural gas vehicles around? Perhaps people are afraid of the explosive potential of a high-pressure container. May be carbon-fiber re-enforcement of the fuel tank will change public perception of the safety of high-pressure fuel tank, in the respect that these tanks may leak with material flaw, but not explode violently like metal tanks can.

Gasoline tanks can rupture at survivable crashes and burn the occupants to death. But, high-pressure tanks are so strong that they will rupture only in crashes so violent that there'll be no survivor, hence can actually be life-saving in survivable crashes.

I believe the phill is somewhere between $500, and $1500.

The Phil unit itself goes for $3500, not taking into account tax rebates/incentives, federal and/or local, which can considerably offset the costs, and installation can run between $ 700 ( almost never an accurate figure, i.e. extremly low end) and $2500. It's a real steal and some figures so the unit paying for itself after a few years. In some areas the local gas company will even let you lock in a lower rate for the natural gas you purchase. ( As low as $0.80 in some instances!) The phil unit also works with most other CNG converted cars and the CNG versions of the Chevy Silverado and the Ford F-150. All in all, a real steal if you think about it, and defintely a precursor to the hydrogen infrastructure we all hope takes off sooner than later.

In-home Phil installation would be virtually impossible if US have the same high rate of taxation for transportational fuel as in Europe. PHEV will have same troubles in Europe too. How one could distinguish where electricity or NG is going, to heater or into vehicle? Here in Canada propane is taxed equally for any application, heating or transportational, so it is consumer who decides what fuel is better suited for particular vehicular application. Many fleet operators use propane or CNG, because it is cheaper for high-mileage applications. What I am trying to say: overtaxation distorts the market, and it is no good.

Roger -

monovalent CNG operation does increase engine fuel efficiency but the weight of the tank (typically steel, not carbon fiber) is quite substantial. At least in Europe, regulators still requrie that the tank must be removable, which rules out designs that allow the tanks to do double duty as structural elements to save weight and volume.

In addition, NG port fuel injection (NGDI is still in development) reduces the amount of fresh air that can be drawn into the combustion chamber. That's why this naturally aspirated engine only delivers a fairly anaemic 47kW/liter. As a result, drivers tend to step on the gas more aggressively, reducing real-world fuel economy. NGDI and/or turbocharging alleviates this problem.

The safety issues have been mastered, cp. production CNG vehicles for Opel and others. Indeed, German fire brigades reportedly now prefer CNG to gasoline for their auxiliary vehicles.

Andrey -

not all taxes, only application-specific ones distort the market. However, low-pressure natural gas for home use is actually taxed quite heavily in Europe. Also note Germany's fuel tax for CNG is far lower (per kWh) than for gasoline or diesel, a situation that is supposed to remain in effect through 2020.

Question about Hydrogen. Instead of running natural gas lines to everyones house, couldn't we just run Hydrogen lines? Then you could fill up your car at home.

David -

First, you've got to have some hydrogen to distribute. Most likely, you would want to use existing natural gas pipes for doing so. Unfortunately, hydrogen gas embrittles polycrystalline materials.

Second, using hydrogen for cooking or space heating would be enormously wasteful in both financial and environmental terms.

Third, using vehicles implies compression to 700 atmospheres or liquefaction to 20 Kelvin. The equipment involved is very expensive and represents signficant safety risks.

If you want to fill up at home, look for PHEVs and BEVs in the coming years.

Can anyone convert their current car to run on natural gas? Is there a difference between LPG and others mentioned? Would there be issues to contend with in terms of converting my car to run on natural gas (efficiency/tear and wear, etc)? Does anyone know how much it would cost to do so and where can one get this done? Thanks


It can be done, but its very expensive. I’m not even sure that kits/fitting specialists are available.

The issues are similar to LPG, ie. Dry gas affecting valves plus lubrication issues.

Of course your greatest problem will be getting the gas from your household supply into your tank at high pressure.

Then of course there is the issue with range and not being able to refuel.

This is the prime problem with LPG in the UK, there are not enough filling stations and the price is often not competitive because of this. Plus there is a good chance of getting stranded with no fuel.
As a result most LPG cars are dual fuel, and can still run on petrol when they run out of LPG.

Richard -

LPG is liquefied petroleum gas, a refinery by-product. Consisting mainly of propane and butane, it must be compressed to about 8 atmospheres to stay liquid. The fuel can be used with few modifications in gasoline engines and burns cleanly. However, it is heavier than air and will tend to settle in cavities in the vehicle structure or underneath it in the event of a leak, creating a fire hazard. That is why LPG vehicles are typically barred from underground parking structures. LPG vehicles were popular in the Netherlands as long ago as the 1980s.

LNG is liquefied natural gas at approx. -160 deg C. The liquid phase can only be safely transported if a certain amount of continous boil-off is permitted. In this form, NG is poorly suited for vehicle applications.

CNG is natural gas at or above ambient temperature and pressures of 200 to 300 atmospheres. The pressurization permits vehicles to achieve adequate range on a tank that will actually fit. Natural gas consists mostly of methane, which has a very high octane number, i.e. it can be used in SI engines with elevated geometric compression ratios and/or boost pressures. High-power points are required to ignite pure methane, but natural gas typically contains a few percent ethane and propane as well. Methane is lighter than air. CNG vehicles are only available in certain markets: Italy, Argentina, Germany,...

Operating either an LPG or a CNG vehicle requires not only that the vehicle is certified for on-road use by the local authorities. You also need a network of filling stations and certified service technicians. In the early adopter phase, bivalent operation (featuring an emergency gasoline tank) is pretty much your only option.

Add DI, and it will increase efficiency on CH4 powered Otto engine cars, like the one above.

I would like a Civic hybrid CNG. That might extend the range a bit and make it even cleaner. FFV could stand for gasoline, ethanol, methanol and CNG as well.

Thanks, Rafael, for the additional info.
So, the mediocre mpg is indeed due to the poor flammability of methane, especially at part throttle, necessitating a richer mixture to achieve combustion, hence lower efficiency. In that case, a little of mixture H2 will improve mpg. Direct injection will help improve top-end power, but not necessarily fuel efficiency at part throttle.
Variable-compression-ratio (VCR)engine probably will help improve efficiency at part throttle by raising compression ratio, hence improve combustion. A VCR-engine is also great for optimizing efficiency for bivalent operation for FFV's.

Roger -

actually, given that most natural gas contains some lower-octane ethane and propane, ignition is not as hard to achieve as it is for pure methane. One complication is that the chemical composition of NG can vary more widely than that of liquid fuels.

The standard way of working around this is to adjust the maxium boost pressure of the turbo based on the continous evaluation of the engine's knock sensor signals. Honda chose not to equip its engine with a turbo, so they chose to raise the geometric compression ratio instead. Unfortunately, the (slightly) higher thermodynamic efficiency yields no improvement in vehicle fuel economy, due to the substantial extra weight of the CNG flasks.

Ergo, 28/39 MPG isn't mediocre, it's in line with what the gasoline variants of the same vehicle get. CNG reduces CO2 emissions by virtue of its higher H-to-C ratio, but it's no miracle fuel.

Honda Civic-GX is the only CNG vehicle (among Light Vehicles) sold in US (World's #1 market).
And it costs a hefty 25,000 K with a range of 200 miles on full tank.

If Honda can make this car a Bi-Fueled with 10 miles on CNG and another 300 miles on Gasolene,
people can use CNG during the 1st 10 miles of their daily commute and weekend shopping.

At 10 miles / day and even if they drive for 300 days / year, it comes to 3,000 miles in CNG
which is roughly 20-25 % of the mileage driven.

If a CNG tank for 200 miles costs $ 5,000 then the smaller tank with 10 mile range may cost
only around $ 500 and that may put this car at an affordable $ 21,000 and also allowing anyone
to buy it an travel farther without worrying about CNG station. The extra $ 3,000 which is paid
towards this vehicle (compared to $ 18,000 for regular Civic DX) can be obtained during the
vehicle's lifetime.

This could popularise CNG vehicles a lot along with Honda. Afterall, there are 5 million +
CNG powered vehicles in the World and its the next alternative fuel after Ethanol.

http://www.iangv.org/content/view/17/35/

Can this car run on propane? Would it run better on propane?

MY NAME IS ALAN. I AM A NEWLY CERTIFIED FACTORY TRAINED SALESPERSON. IF YOU ALL HAVE ANY QUESTIONS REGARDING THIS PRODUCT OR AVAILABILTY, PLEASE CONTACT ME@631-727-0555 OR E-MAIL--THANKS, ALAN APPLE HONDA

Kindly send me this paper.

Kindly send me this paper.

Do you have knowledge of research currrently underway or knowledge www sites, which pertain to advanced touring vehicles which utilize natural gas or electricity and fuel to sustain tansportation and stationary power requirements thus enabling lower cost transportation costs? In my opinion, advanced touring vehicles i.e. "motor-homes" are a very prone and major market to establish throughout N. America and the UK.

In my opinion, Green Transportation Industry Lobbyists, must set in motion: tasks, priorities and goals immediately to establish North American Market Structures and Systems to accommodate advanced Green Touring vehicles of current North American transportation motorized vehicle markets.

Sincerely,
Ross McClelland
Opinion, Prepared and Authored by Ross McClelland

Interesting www-site:

http://www.dieselmidatlantic.org/diesel/frieght/conferencecalls/9_27_06/MADCAeroOvw2.pdf

I think a Formally Represented Green Transportation Industry Consortium must be Established and Hosted at Ormond Beach Florida, "The Birth Place of Speed," in order to facilitate measures to establish Green Transportation Technology Industry Synergy and to establish Transportation Industry systems and structures to enable the advancement and further the establishment of Green-Motorized- Transportation-Vehicle, (GMTV) Technology Development, Legislative Planning; Industry and Consumer Market, National and International Business Development.

Sincerely,
Ross McClelland
Opinion, Prepared and Authored by Ross McClelland - Saturday, January 06, 2007
Term: Green-Motorized-Transportation-Vehicle, (GMTV) - Originated, invented, developed of this Opinion of Ross McClelland
Saturday, January 06, 2007

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