American Honda Begins Retailing Natural-Gas Civic

American Honda Begins Retailing Natural-Gas Civic
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April 22, 2005 American Honda is giving Californian car-buyers the opportunity to say “goodbye” to gasoline by offering limited retail sales of its natural gas-powered Civic GX sedan paired with a revolutionary new home-refuelling appliance called Phill. The Civic GX is the cleanest internal combustion vehicle ever certified by the U.S. EPA and, with the introduction of home refueling, has the lowest fuel cost per mile of any new vehicle sold in the United States. The Phill appliance, manufactured and marketed by FuelMaker Corporation, is an affordable home refueling appliance that allows drivers the convenience of refueling their vehicles at home using their existing natural gas supply.

Phill can be mounted to a garage wall either indoors or outdoors and allow a natural gas-powered vehicle to be refueled overnight directly from a homeowner’s existing natural gas supply line. Phill is designed to offer ease of operation with simple “start” and “stop” buttons and will automatically turn itself off when the tank is full.

Civic GX buyers can lease Phill through selected Honda dealers for approximately US$34 to US$79 per month (plus installation) depending on regional incentive programs.

“The combination of the Civic GX and the Phill home-refueling appliance provides consumers with an alternative to gasoline-powered vehicles and represents the ultimate in environmentally friendly transportation currently available,” said Gunnar Lindstrom, senior manager of Alternative Fuel Vehicle Sales and Marketing for American Honda.

“Driving a natural gas vehicle has never been so convenient. California commuters can now enjoy High-Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lane access, federal tax benefits, access to a domestically-sourced fuel and the convenience of filling up without ever visiting a gas station.”

For the past seven years, Honda has marketed the Civic GX to fleet operators who have their own dedicated fueling stations. A limited number of retail customers have also purchased the Civic GX, relying on the existing public natural gas refueling network. By offering the Civic GX with the Phill home refueling appliance, Honda is expanding the appeal of this ultra-clean and convenient alternative to gasoline-powered transportation. Honda is the only manufacturer currently offering a dedicated natural gas-powered passenger car to the general public in North America.

The Civic GX sedan provides practical transportation for up to four passengers with a driving range of between 200 and 220 miles. Since the Civic GX shares a platform with the Civic LX sedan, it offers a similar array of safety and convenience features including dual front and side airbags, anti-lock brakes, air conditioning, AM/FM stereo with in-dash CD player, and power locks, windows and mirrors. The Civic Sedan has earned a 5-star frontal impact crash rating from the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration.

The Civic GX is also the only vehicle distributed nationwide that is certified to the stringent EPA Tier 2-Bin 2 emissions standard and it meets California’s Advanced Technology Partial Zero Emission Vehicle (AT-PZEV) standards. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has certified the U.S.-made Honda Civic GX as “the cleanest internal combustion engine-powered vehicle.” The GX was the first vehicle to earn AT-PZEV status in California and the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) recently named the Civic GX as the “Greenest Vehicle of the Year” in overall environmental performance, ahead of even hybrid vehicles.

"For years, the Civic GX has ranked at or near the top of ACEEE's Green Book environmental vehicle rankings," said Bill Prindle, ACEEE’s deputy director. "Honda's new program gives California consumers a new and convenient way to drive a very clean vehicle."

The 1.7-liter, 4-cylinder Civic GX comes with a continuously variable automatic transmission sells for US$21,769.

The Federal government currently offers a US$2,000 tax deduction on the purchase of a new alternative fuel vehicle, and local incentives and rebates may also be available to some consumers. Drivers in California and nine other states also qualify for High-Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lane access for solo commuters.

Natural gas powered vehicles are part of Honda’s strategy to offer the best available technology for the reduction of air pollution, greenhouse gas emissions and petroleum dependence. Natural gas, an abundant North American resource, is among the best alternatives for displacing petroleum on a near-term basis. Longer-term, the Civic GX and Phill can help to bridge the gap between gasoline and even cleaner, more efficient energy alternatives such as hydrogen-powered fuel cells.

Honda’s extensive history of environmental leadership includes recognition as the “Greenest Automaker” by the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) in its 2005 ranking of corporate environmental performance with the lowest average emission levels and highest average fuel economy.

Honda leads the automotive industry with the most hybrid models of any manufacturer – the Insight, Civic Hybrid and Accord Hybrid. Honda also is a leader in hydrogen vehicle technology with a fleet of thirteen FCX hydrogen fuel cell vehicles in regular daily use with six customers in three states. The Honda FCX is the first and only hydrogen vehicle to date to ever to be certified by the United States EPA and by California’s Air Resources Board.

Established in 1989, FuelMaker Corporation is a privately held Toronto-based company and the world’s leading manufacturer of natural gas vehicle refuelling appliances.

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