Honda’s big news for fleets is the new-for-2012 dedicated-CNG Civic Natural Gas (formerly the Civic GX), for which the manufacturer is predicting a three-fold sales increase over 2011.
The Honda CNG is powered by a modified four-cylinder, 1.8-liter engine yielding EPA-rated city/highway/ combined fuel economy of 27/38/31 miles per gasoline-gallon equivalent (GGE), a combined improvement of 10.7% from the Civic GX.
Coming in to ACT Expo 2012, Honda had 195 certified Honda CNG dealers, up from 125 a year ago, with 12 applicants pending, says Eric Rosenberg, assistant manager for alt fuel vehicles. That means some 20% of all Honda dealers are certified to sell the natural gas car.
There are certified dealers in 36 states, up from 33 states a year ago.
Honda just had its best first quarter ever for the vehicle, despite an incremental price difference of $6,935 over a gasoline Civic.
What’s more, Rosenberg says, the premium retail trim level, with navigation to find CNG fuel, “has been selling at a rate that is nearly twice our original projections, which bodes well for the retail demand for this car.”
Natural Gas, Electricity, Hydrogen
Honda introduced its pure battery electric Fit EV at the Los Angeles Auto Show late last year.
The battery car is “designed to meet the needs of an average urban commuter,” with single-charge range better than 75 miles. The Fit EV has a 20-kilowatt-hour lithium ion battery and a 92-kilowatt coaxial motor derived from the motor used in the FCX Clarity fuel cell electric vehicle.
Honda last month named Leviton as its preferred supplier of EV chargers.
Looking to the future, Honda continues its stalwart promotion of the hydrogen-fueled FCX Clarity, flagship for a zero-emission future.
The “star garnet metallic” (deep red) vehicle has a Honda-engineered fuel cell stack efficient enough to afford a single-fill range of 240 miles with a compressed hydrogen pressure of just 5,000 psi.
Honda’s Hydrogen Car Gets Quieter
Improvements this year include better dampening to reduce motor whine and compressor noise.
Honda’s continued promotion of the car is following a familiar alt fuels pattern, says Steve Ellis, principal (and stalwart) spokesman. With new hydrogen stations coming on line and more receiving funding, the map of fueling outlets “is starting to look now just like CNG stations looked in Southern California when we were developing our prototypes for the Civic Natural Gas.”
The CNG-fueled Civic GX was introduced in 1998.
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