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import of NGV's ?

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  • import of NGV's ?

    I am curious if anyone has truly examined the possibility of importing any of the foreign CNG vehicle models and legitimately bringing them to US compliance. Sure prima facie the idea is quashed with its "too expensive", "bringing the vehicles up to US standards is too involved and too costly", e.g. 5 mph bumpers, EPA standards etc. But on a domestic (SVM) BAF, FuelTec, etc veh the EPA testing has to done anyhow, and the cost to get one year make/model/engine approved by the EPA is exorbitant. But the way this is feasible is to spread out the EPA testing/approval cost over the sale of many of that approved model. Then add fuel storage cylinders, labor, etc and the end product is a non-factory modified vehicle, with cyls hemmed in causing cabin space/storage issues. With an adder cost to MSRP of approx. 6 to 10K for the CNG system. It seems if a desirable foreign model could be targeted that the US market is lacking then import enough quantity to spread the initial cost of EPA/CARB approval out over a number of vehicle sales. Perhaps the remaining modifications and the total cost would be less then obtaining EPA approval and adding fuel storage and labor to a US vehicle. (hell Charlie Babbitt did it, hehe)

  • #2
    Re: import of NGV's ?

    Originally posted by cng oso View Post
    Perhaps the remaining modifications and the total cost would be less then obtaining EPA approval and adding fuel storage and labor to a US vehicle.
    Very interesting ...

    Pick one with the turbocharged engine to do the cost/benefit comparison.



    ?Innovation is driven by having access to things.? -- Gleb Budman, CEO of backblaze.com

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    • #3
      Re: import of NGV's ?

      California law prohibits residents or businesses from importing and/or registering a new vehicle with less than 7,500 miles at the time of purchase unless it meets or is exempt from California Emission standards. If you acquire a 49-State vehicle (manufactured for all states except California) from another state or country, you may not be able to register your vehicle in California.

      California compliance would add to the cost or significantly reduce your market size.

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      • #4
        Re: import of NGV's ?

        I would think that if the capital was invested to EPA/CARB test for example a European CNG turbo jokeswagon or the new Mercedes sprinter that it would be found it was 50 state LEV compliant. I'm not positive, perhaps someone knows if Sweden, Germany, Netherlands have stricter emission standards then California.

        This idea would be big business, take some large capital to put up the 250K? For testing and the capital to purchase the vehicles and create a sales/service structure, ect

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        • #5
          Re: import of NGV's ?

          I would suspect that a niche vehicle would be hard pressed to justify the expense. As you pointed out, initial expenses to make US market compliant, as well as costs for EPA/CARB are just the starting point. For a vehicle to have a legitimate shot I would suspect that it had better have a serious fleet appeal, and US fleets are looking for trucks & vans, not Mercedes and Fiats. In addition, service and parts chains are critical to any offering. We are going to need to see a big jump in oil prices, similar to the summer of '08, to really stimulate the light duty market back to a healthy interest in cng.

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          • #6
            Re: import of NGV's ?

            Originally posted by echamberlain View Post
            California law prohibits residents or businesses from importing and/or registering a new vehicle with less than 7,500 miles at the time of purchase unless it meets or is exempt from California Emission standards. If you acquire a 49-State vehicle (manufactured for all states except California) from another state or country, you may not be able to register your vehicle in California.

            California compliance would add to the cost or significantly reduce your market size.
            Just to keep the record straight, Section 43151(b) of the Calif Health and Safety code (chapter 26):

            (b) This article shall not apply to a vehicle acquired by a
            resident of this state for the purpose of replacing a vehicle
            registered to such resident which was damaged or became inoperative
            beyond reasonable repair or was stolen while out of this state;
            provided that such replacement vehicle is acquired out of state at
            the time the previously owned vehicle was either damaged or became
            inoperative or was stolen. This article shall not apply to a vehicle
            transferred by inheritance, or by a decree of divorce, dissolution,
            or legal separation entered by a court of competent jurisdiction, or
            to any vehicle sold after the effective date of the amendments to
            this subdivision at the 1979-80 Regular Session of the Legislature if
            the vehicle was registered in this state before such effective date.

            If you want the rest of the story check out sections 43150 - 43156. If the vehicle does come into the state to be registered, it will of course need a SMOG test. If everything else is in compliance, except the miliage and emission certification (49 state car), the vehicle will receive a Certficate of Non-Compliance from the SMOG machine. The owner will have to sort it out with DMV. It would be wise to have documentation from, a repair shop, an accident report, a wrecking yard, or new car dealer as to why you needed to purchase a new vehicle.

            Most of the new vehicles are 50 state certified, so you should not have much of a problem. I would not attempt to have a new vehicle converted to bi-fuel and then bring it into the state (even if the kit is EPA certified) because it should go to the referee for SMOG, and it will be identified as a Non-CARB certified kit and be failed (at least as of a month ago).

            With respect to imported vehicles not orignally intended for U.S. sale, there are addition requirement; another day

            Hope this helps

            Larrycng
            Last edited by larrycng; 12-22-2009, 09:41 AM.

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            • #7
              Re: import of NGV's ?

              Having imported a couple of dozen "gray market" cars in the early 1980's, I can tell you that it is all but impossible(economically) to import an non-us car. Mercedes funded legislation in 1985-6 which made an importer assume the responsibilities of a manufacturer unless the manufacturer will certify that the vehicle was made to the same standards, both DOT(safety) and EPA.
              Tom

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              • #8
                Re: import of NGV's ?

                Thanks, Larry, as usual your knowledge and expertise is a shining jewel in the crown of cngchat. Merry Christmas!

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