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Got the CNG Impala certified witih EPA!

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  • Got the CNG Impala certified witih EPA!

    Whew, John and I finally got our dedicated CNG Impala platform certified with EPA today! The actual cert came via fax so I scanned it & attached it to this post. It covers the GM test group (aka "engine family") 8GMXV03.9052 which is found on all the flex-fuel Impalas in 3.5 and 3.9 liter engines. This is the LS, LT, LTZ and police packages (not the SS model).

    In addition to installing the system here in Phoenix at AFVTech we currently have authorized the following installers:

    Tulsa Gas Technologies
    Carter Chevrolet / OEM Systems

    Lancer Automotive

    Phoenix Energy

    Productive Concepts, Inc.


    We are in discussion with other potential installers too.

    Sorry Californians, we may or may not pursue CARB certification. For now, it is our understanding that DMV will let you register an EPA certified vehicle if it is used (over 7,500 miles, licensed outside of California) but so far we have not tried this. Of course, no HOV stickers even in this scenario. If any of you want to give it a try we have a few prototype Impalas with close to this mileage we could sell you.

    This vehicle conversion will qualify for a $2,500 federal tax credit, which we hope to bump up to $4,000 for the 2009 model year. Our most recent lab data is blowing 0.009 g/mi NOx so we should certify to BIN2/SULEV.

    As to pricing it is up to the authorized installer. Most installs will likely be in the $11k to $12.5k range depending on options. 2008 Impalas can be bought pretty well these days, we have seen anywhere from $12k for a used LS to $21k for a new LTZ. We hope most of our fleet buyers will find a fully installed vehicle to be priced close to the Civic GX with the following benefits:

    * 10.8 gge gives a range of 240 city to 300+ miles highway. John just did a run yesterday from an overnight Fuelmaker fill to 340 miles on the highway.

    * Over double the trunk volume of the GX

    * Full size sedan with all the goodies of satellite radio, OnStar, etc.

    Anyway, it was a long road but we got there. Now we have to finish up the 5.3 liter truck/SUV platform. This should give us the Silverado 1500, Tahoe, Suburban, GMC Sierra, Yukon, etc. Our prototype Suburban is running great so it should be off to the lab soon.
    Attached Files
    Last edited by John Mitton; 11-24-2008, 03:07 PM. Reason: included press release

  • #2
    Re: Got the CNG Impala certified witih EPA!

    Congrats Kevin and John!
    CARB needs to somehow fast-track these epa approved cars into their system. Let me know about any used ones!
    BLUE 09 GX


    • #3
      Re: Got the CNG Impala certified witih EPA!

      when you get some of those used GM/chevy trucks, let us know. I have looked for and really have not found a bi-fuel suburban that is worth buying.


      • #4
        Re: Got the CNG Impala certified witih EPA!

        Good job guys!

        As someone who has pulled a few EPA certs through and had more than a few fail, and some never to get 'certed (older mechanical fuel systems of the early to mid 90's), I cannot emphasize how difficult the process is. It is not as simple as paying the money and getting the letter. Countless hours (many hundreds) in the lab and on the road, a crate full of failed experimental parts, and even at one time, being tempted to pay under the table for a "fast track" EPA cert!

        For those uninitiated folks, Kevin, why dont you run down the step by step process of the certification? It might better explain what is required.

        Again, Congrats.



        • #5
          Re: Got the CNG Impala certified witih EPA!

          Franz, I will let John chime in on this in more detail. The Certification was time consuming process, but to the defense of the EPA, overall, they were pretty easy to deal with. Some of the requirements could be streamlined more, but over all, the process is pretty well laid out in the guidence documents. There is alot to it and it takes hammering through the regulations. Now that we have been all the way through it, future certifications for us should fall into place quicker, maybe not easier, but quicker. As a starting point have a look at this link:
          Attached Files


          • #6
            Re: Got the CNG Impala certified witih EPA!

            Awesome News Kevin! Congrats to you and John and everyone who made this possible. Now about those low mileage used CNG Impalas? Can you email me off the forum mileage colors and prices?
            AAA CNG SYSTEMS
            CSA Certified CNG Cylinder & Fuel System Inspector


            • #7
              Re: Got the CNG Impala certified witih EPA!

              John and Kevin --
              Congratulations! We look forward to selling lots of vehicles with you.

              Chip Schula
              Carter Chevrolet
              Okarche OK


              • #8
                Re: Got the CNG Impala certified witih EPA!

                Glad to see something positive in the natgas industry for a change.

                Too bad the timing is so bad- not a lot of incentive to convert outside of Utah, and even here with a $1 fuel cost differential, it will take years (~10K GGE, or 200K miles) to pay for the conversion cost.

                The sad reality, we need high oil prices (or really cheap natgas regulation) to promote alternative fuels.


                • #9
                  Re: Got the CNG Impala certified witih EPA!

                  Congratulations guys! Now if GM can only stay in business.



                  • #10
                    Re: Got the CNG Impala certified witih EPA!

                    Originally posted by Green GX View Post
                    Congratulations guys! Now if GM can only stay in business.
                    Eh, even if GM falls apart, there are a LOT of impalas on the road, certainly enough to fuel the conversion lines until something else would come out...

                    OF course, it sounds like the American people are going to be buying up a part of GM to 'save' them. oh yeah..
                    1997 Factory Crown Victoria w/ extended tanks ~~ Clunkerized!
                    2000 Bi-Fuel Expedition --> ~~ Sold ~~ <--


                    • #11
                      Re: Got the CNG Impala certified witih EPA!

                      I think GM made over 300,000 Impalas for the 2008 model year. We should have ample supply for our conversion


                      • #12
                        Re: Got the CNG Impala certified witih EPA!

                        Congrats on the certification. Too bad no CARB.


                        • #13
                          Re: Got the CNG Impala certified witih EPA!

                          Link to article describing our hosts' innovative approach to thier project:

                          Phoenix, AZ – November 24, 2008 – NaturalDrive Partners, LLC has obtained EPA certification for its dedicated compressed natural gas (CNG) retrofit of 2008 Chevrolet Impala sedans powered by 3.5 liter and 3.9 liter flex-fuel engines in models LS, LT, LTZ, as well as law enforcement packages 9C1 and 9C3. NaturalDrive’s retrofit package incorporates 10.4 gasoline-gallon-equivalents of CNG storage at 3600 psi, providing an estimated range of 220 to 300 miles, while leaving ample trunk space for taxi, municipal and consumer applications. NaturalDrive’s innovative OEM-style plug-and-play approach recalibrates a vehicle’s powertrain control module to provide exceptional performance with low emissions while retaining all of the engine diagnostics and scan tool capability found in the original gasoline configuration. Use of a unique new pressure regulator system design allows low pressure natural gas to flow to the engine using existing GM fuel lines while high pressure fuel is contained in the rear of the vehicle in lightweight cylinders. Since Chevrolet Impalas are already designed to run on E85, engine seats and valves are hardened for excellent long term durability while operating on 130 octane compressed natural gas. “We feel the bar has been raised considerably with this new design,” states Kevin Fern, NaturalDrive’s co-founder.


                          • #14
                            Easy 375 mile range now

                            Thanks all for your comments.

                            Kevin figured out a new trunk / cylinder design with 4 of the Luxfer 2.6 gge's in there for 10.4 gge standard with an option for one more undercarriage. 13 gge gets you about 400 mile highway range.

                            I attached one of our new flyers here.
                            Attached Files


                            • #15

                              Attached are some photos from a prototype we did for CNGchatter rgliedt's vehicle. We thank EPA for the kind assistance with testing exemptions Note that the undercarriage photo is before adding a protective cover, and the engine was from a 3.5 liter where rgliedt's vehicle is the LTZ with 3.9 liter active fuel management. Maybe he can post some more photos of his sweet ride -- it has leather, sunroof, back camera, yikes!

                              For those of you with CNG Camrys, we put one of these side-by-side and found the trunk to be almost identical in dimensions and storage space.
                              Attached Files
                              Last edited by John Mitton; 11-24-2008, 03:20 PM.