Honda has launched a Civic in the US that runs on CNG and can be refuelled at home.

Available in California next spring, the Civic GX runs on compressed natural gas.  To combat the lack of filling stations supplying CNG, Honda has formed an alliance with FuelMaker Corporation to bring to market a practical refuelling appliance that takes advantage of natural gas supplied to homes. The two companies are completing development of a product called PhillTM which compresses natural gas to the very high pressure needed by the Civic GX.

Up to now the car has been sold only to fleets.  The popularity of natural gas-powered vehicles is gaining momentum as more states enact legislation to permit such vehicles in carpool lanes with just a single occupant. Vehicles powered by natural gas are inherently cleaner than their conventional gasoline-powered counterparts, produce less CO2 and have low fuel costs.

Honda and FuelMaker share a vision for home refuelling as a solution to the challenge of making natural gas a practical alternative to petrol for US consumers.

“The biggest obstacle to broader acceptance of natural gas vehicles is the limited availability of refuelling stations,” said Tom Elliott, executive vice president of American Honda. “This alliance with FuelMaker is great for Honda because it will give our customers a personalised solution to refuelling. Our research indicates people like the convenience of filling up at home. Plus, natural gas offers many benefits as an alternative to gasoline and is an abundant domestic resource that strengthens America’s energy independence.”

Here in Europe, the advantages of natural gas fuel are offset by the limited number of CNG stations and the limited driving range of the vehicle – although there is an extensive network in Northern Italy and Germany and a growing one in France. Currently however, there are no plans to market either the Civic GX or Phill refuelling appliance in Britain.