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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Aftermarket Kit for 1.4L Running Compressed Natural Gas?

I noticed this during an internet search. Impco Automotive appears to be developing a compressed natural gas (CNG) kit for the 1.4L Cruze. I've sent them an e-mail requesting information and I'll post whatever I get.

I wonder what they expect the market to be for developing the Cruze engine? I had always thought the costs of converting to CNG were several thousand dollars, and the high pressure tank being a signficant factor.For big trucks and fleets maybe there is some cost savings, for individual consumers?
Anyone done a conversion to either liquid propane (LP) or CNG and have anything to share related to costs,tax incentives, or performance?
 

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I noticed this during an internet search. Impco Automotive appears to be developing a CNG kit for the 1.4L Cruze. I've sent them an e-mail requesting information and I'll post whatever I get.

I wonder what they expect the market to be for developing the Cruze engine? I had always thought the costs of converting to CNG were several thousand dollars, and the high pressure tank being a signficant factor.

For big trucks and fleets maybe there is some cost savings, for individual consumers?

Anyone done a conversion to either LP or CNG and have anything to share related to costs,tax incentives, or performance?
First of all what the heck is a CNG? Second what is LP? I'm illiterate when it comes to abbreviations!
 

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CNG is compressed natural gas.
LP is liquified propane (standard propane)

FYI,
LNG is liquified natural gas. A very, very explosive fuel.
Ships transporting it cannot get within X-miles of cities over 25,000.
 
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Ok I fixed the post, sorry for the abreviations. I just thought this was interesting. There is CNG near where I'm at, but it's selling for $1.99 per gallon gasoline equivalent. That matches the BTU content of conventional gas for comparison.

Using residential gas is about $0.80 per gallon gasoline equivalant. However, there only seems to be one residential pressure system, and that's $4,000 dollars, so this may be a difficult project to consider.

I do like the idea of alternative fuels, if the numbers should work out right, and the car components are standard run of the mill factory compoents vs. hybrid batteries.

Obviously the manufactuer must see a market in getting the 1.4L conversion EPA approved, I'm just wondering what it might be?

Possibly 1.4L offered as CNG from the factory after GM tries the 2.0L diesel offering?
 

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CNG was a factory option on my 2004 cavalier, think only 1% of cars were sold with it though. Window sticker the car got 31mpg highway with gas, 29mpg with CNG. CNG is also less than $2 a Gallon equivalent anywhere in the USA. Some CNG cars are just CNG, GM has built a few cars/trucks that are bifuel(can run both gas and CNG).

Here is a video on youtube showing a CNG cavalier, the second link is a website that sells a ton of CNG cars/trucks.
CNG Cavalier - YouTube

CNG Utah - NGV Cars Trucks and Vans for Sale

Here is a map with CNG fuel prices:
CNG stations and Prices for the US, Canada and Europe
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
spacedout-

Thanks for the link to the dealer in Utah. Based on the 2001 Window stickers posted on that site, CNG was an additional $6,000 option for those cars! Wow.. I expected a premium around $2,000 to $4,000.

It also looked like a few years ago there was a signficant tax break for filling sytems ect. I see Kwik Trip is pushing CNG in Wisconsin. When it get's a little closer to me in Minnesota I thought I may consider it.

However at a price delta of approximately $1.50 -$1.70 savings per gallon over gas, that still takes 5-6 years to recoop.

That's an EPA certified solution though. I wonder if this type of thing can be done without the certification. There's no emissions testing in Minnesota anymore.
 

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BTU's
#1- Diesel
#2- Gasoline
#3- Propane
#4- CNG
Stats on dual-fuel generators show CNG is 10% lower in output.

Propane conversion vs Gasoline usually doesn't pay.
Of course it depends upon yearly miles driven etc.

Propane advantage:
Low Emissions
Low cost fuel (+no road tax)
Unlimited Engine Life, * see below
Unlimited Oil Life, * With Premium Air Filtration.

Propane Disadvantages
Poor Cold Weather performance, in some climates a "tank heater" is necessary.
High initial Cost
Limited Range
NO Dealer support (Billy-Bob GMC)

Here is a site claiming OBD compliant 4-cyl kits for $1,299.00
 

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I read somewhere Kwik Trip/Kwik Star plans to install CNG in all their newly built gas stations. Last year they added 3 or 4 more in Wisconsin.

Chevy is selling CNG trucks again. Its very similar to this used 2006 truck on that utah CNG website. Has 21gallon equivalent CNG tank(250mile range) + a 34gallon gas tank(408miles), those ranges are based on 12mpg.

Since CNG is $1.79 a gallon equivalent at kwik trip where I live, I could be burning a cleaner fuel and halving my fuel costs(compared to gas in the same truck).
CNG Utah - 2006 Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
BTU's
#1- Diesel
#2- Gasoline
#3- Propane
#4- CNG
Stats on dual-fuel generators show CNG is 10% lower in output.

Propane conversion vs Gasoline usually doesn't pay.
Of course it depends upon yearly miles driven etc.

Propane advantage:
Low Emissions
Low cost fuel (+no road tax)
Unlimited Engine Life, * see below
Unlimited Oil Life, * With Premium Air Filtration.

Propane Disadvantages
Poor Cold Weather performance, in some climates a "tank heater" is necessary.
High initial Cost
Limited Range
NO Dealer support (Billy-Bob GMC)

Here is a site claiming OBD compliant 4-cyl kits for $1,299.00

Sure propane may have a higher BTU rating than Natural Gas but have you priced propane lately? In the midwest you have to try really hard to get propane under $2.99 per liquid gallon, not gasoline gallon equivalant. Most places that are conveniently located are around $3.50 per liquid gallon propane.

Given that you won't get the same BTU content in a gallon of propane vs. a gallon of gasoline it doesn't make sense.

Yea, maybe for conversion of old carborator style trucks trying to decrease weight for rock climbing or buggies ok, as it can be done cheap, but for a high milage daily driver with fuel injection keeping the option to run gasoline I don't think it makes sense.

I don't have access to a farmhouse with a 1000 gallon tank out back where I can buy quantities to get a price less than $2.00 per gallon. Plus there's temperature issues of having propane powered vehicles this far north due to vapor pressure.

Ever been ice fishing on a lake at -20F you know what I mean playing with propane tanks and heaters.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
It appears tha Oklahoma and Utah for some reason are the CNG parts of the country. I haven't gotten a response from the e-mail that I sent, however if you go to the Impco automotive you'll see they are the factory developer and installer for the GM 2013 trucks being offered. And that the kit for the 1.4L Turbo is part numbered as part of their products information.

Given that the trucks are running $8,000 to $10,000 to convert, I'm guessing the cruze won't have a payback that works for me.

The question becomes, do you have to have an EPA Certified Installation? I suspect there's got to be a fair amount of the above mentioned price wrapped into the "paperwork, of getting it EPA certified".

This would be a question for a local approved manufacturer installer.

I was interested as CNG is starting to pop up around me, but it's $1.79 gge. For less than a dollar allready compessed, I'm guessing it may have a payback in these area's.
 

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I have had an interest in CNG conversions for some time but it would be hard to get payback in a fuel efficient vehicle at today's fuel prices.

In short, you can get an EPA certified CNG kit installed for about $9K. If you go w/ an EPA certified version a $2.5K tax credit or rebate is pretty common. So a net cost of about $6.5K for the comversion.

You can install a CNG assist for a bit less money, about $2K less, on a Diesel engine but since
you can only run a max of about 55% CNG on a diesel the payback will certainly take longer.

Or you can build a kit yourself for possibly as little as $4K, but you would receive no tax credit.

Now depending on your current rates a GGe (gallon gasoline equivalent, or about 125 ft^3 of CNG) runs about 55 cents at your home, or about $2 at a public pump.

You can build a home fueling station, for about $8K and they also come w/ rebates or around $1K so a net cost of about $7K. The compressor is the large expense, almost $8K. There are some low capacity (takes all night to refill) home CNG compressors that will be available soon that should lower the cost substantially.

Then you have to add in the inconvienance and limited range (all of these systems can run on just gasoline or diesel fuel if they run out of CNG), the trouble to track down a station (a huge problem in TX as we only have 1 filling station within 100 miles radius to Austin), the lost storage capacity, it becomes pretty daunting.

For local trucking companies that bring all rigs back every evening the pay back for the system (even though it cost $70K for a big truck and another million for a high pressure fueling station) is about 1.5 year per truck not including the fill station.

In short, unless you are driving a lot of miles in a poor mpg vehicle, it just doesn't pay to run CNG at today's fuel prices.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I called the company advertising this conversion in Wisconsin, and was told close to $9,000 for the conversion. When I explained the current MPG of the cruze I got the, let me check my calculator.. Then they did confirm the 10+ year payback period.

I'm interested to see how GM specifically prices the Impala CNG 2015. I haven't been following really closely, but that's a CNG version of an older GM powertrain. Could it be getting closer to a reasonable payoff if the US Government would offer a CNG rebate like the $7500 tax deduction on the Volts..

Then this would take off.
 

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So CNG is very popular in other countries, specifically Italy and Brazil. And vehicles typically will be multi-fuel; able to burn petrol, E85, or CNG. The CNG tank is typically located in the trunk limiting your trunk space, but you can carry two fuels on board. One of the most common uses for these are taxis, where it is a large advantage. If you are servicing a city where you know the local CNG fueling stations, you can incorporate refueling into your driving strategy. And worse case you run on petrol for a bit. Unfortunately, in the USA CNG refueling stations are relatively rare, despite their growing numbers. If you live near a refueling station it may work out for you in the long run, however these days I would say to get a Chevy Volt or other plugin hybrid instead. The efficiency of an electric drive train means your GGE is even cheaper than CNG, and you aren't tied to CNG refueling stations.
 
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