Last Sunday, at the SASCA autocross, there arrived a noticably bedecked (vinyl-wrapped) 2008 Honda Civic LX. It was proudly announcing being fueled by natural gas, as an NGV (natural gas vehicle). Check out the not shy graphics that gained a lot attention at the event.
Kevin, a salesman at Howdy Honda, in Austin, TX, had brought it down. He’s been a past autocross competitor, but I’m not sure why he wasn’t competing this weekend. He was definately in “advertising” mode.
I asked Kevin about the details of this NGV Honda Civic. Price? It cost a $6000 premium, but (if you live in Austin, anyway), you get that amount back as a rebate from the federal government. The fuel? It’s compressed natural gas (CNG). Where & how is the fuel stored? It’s in a special, 8 gallon, securly made, very strong tank. This tank is meant to store the fuel at 3600psi (to keep it in liquid form). The tank is made with 4 inch (!) reinforced aluminum walls, then tightly wrapped in carbon fiber. This huge (in physical size, not capacity) tank takes up about 3/4’s of the Civic’s trunk space. In the picture below, you can see that there is only about 18″ of actual trunk depth/capacity .
Kevin said that he currently has customers’ deposits waiting on 7 of these. Of course, this is without the graphics. He says these NGV Civics run so cleanly they can remove and/or modify the pollution controls. I believe he said that it is running without the catalytic converter & has no EGR valve. He says power, torque, performance and mileage are similar to that of a standard gas-fueled Civic. With the low capacity tank, you won’t want to stray far from most metropolitan centers.
This is not my “cup of tea”, but it was interesting. I thought you could gain some new information by learning about NGV’s. Here at Racing Ready we strive to expose some of that which is innovative.