Honda And FuelMaker Strengthen Alliance to Make Natural Gas Vehicle Home Refueling a Reality
American Honda Motor Co., Inc. and FuelMaker Corporation have strengthened their strategic alliance in order to bring to market an affordable appliance for consumers to refuel natural gas vehicles at home by spring 2005.
Honda, which has owned almost 20 percent of Toronto-based FuelMaker Corporation since 2000, is working directly with FuelMaker to complete development of Phill™, the natural gas home refueling appliance. As part of this alliance, Honda and FuelMaker are announcing plans to begin retail sales of the Phill refueling appliance and Civic GX natural gas vehicle beginning in California in spring 2005. The Civic GX, now in its seventh year of sales in the U.S., has to this point been marketed only to fleets.
The Phill home refueling appliance will be available for purchase in limited
quantities in California by spring 2005. The retail price of Phill will be approximately
$2,000. Depending on Federal, State, and local government rebates, the actual
cost of ownership may be reduced to consumers.
Honda and FuelMaker share a vision for home refueling as a solution to the challenge of making natural gas a practical alternative to gasoline for consumers.
"The biggest obstacle to broader acceptance of natural gas vehicles is the limited availability of refueling 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 personalized solution to refueling. 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."
FuelMaker developed Phill, the world's first low-cost, home-based fueling appliance, which can be mounted to a garage wall, indoors or outdoors, to allow natural gas-powered vehicles to be refueled overnight directly from a homeowner's existing natural gas supply line.
"We developed Phill to make home refueling safe and simple, and with Honda as a partner we will make it a reality," said John Lyon, chief executive officer of FuelMaker Corporation.
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. The U.S. Environmental Protection
Agency (US EPA) has labeled the U.S.-made Honda Civic GX the "cleanest
internal combustion engine-powered vehicle ever tested."
Honda is the world's preeminent engine-maker, building more than 17 million engines globally in 2003 for its diverse line-up of automobiles, motorcycles and power equipment products. Honda began operations in North America in 1959 with the establishment of American Honda Motor Co., Inc., Honda's first overseas subsidiary. Using domestic and globally sourced parts, Honda began assembling motorcycles in America in 1979 and this year celebrates 25 years of U.S. production. Honda began automobile manufacturing in the U.S. in 1982 with the Accord and was the first Japanese automaker to build products for the North American market in the United States.
Established in 1989, FuelMaker Corporation is a privately held Toronto-based company and the world's leading manufacturer of natural gas vehicle refueling appliances.