What makes the 2012 Honda PZEV so unique? Natural gas as an alternative fuel is enjoying a rise in popularity, but beyond buses and fleets, options in the U.S. market have remained limited. Enter Honda and what used to be called the Honda GX, a natural gas partial zero emission vehicle (pzev) available to the masses, finally, as the 2012 Honda Civic Natural Gas.
Improved Fuel Economy
Making a name change to Honda Civic Natural Gas for 2012, it seems Honda is embracing its dominance in the CNG world and finally taking its natural gas vehicle to authorized Honda dealers nationwide for the first time. As the Civic GX, Honda first introduced its CNG sedan to retail customers in California in 2005. It later took the vehicle to dealers in New York, Utah and Oklahoma before finally rolling it out nationwide as the Civic Natural Gas in 2012. The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy named the 2011 edition of the Civic GX “America’s Greenest Vehicle” for the eighth time in its Green Book ranking of environmentally responsible vehicles. The Civic Natural Gas has a Honda-estimated city/highway/combined fuel economy rating2 of 27/38/31 miles per gallon (gasoline-gallon equivalent). Compared to the 2011 model, city fuel economy improves by 12.5 percent, and highway fuel economy is up by 5.5 percent.
Almost zero pollution-forming emissions are produced from the Civic Natural Gas engine, the cleanest internal-combustion vehicle certified by the EPA. It is also recognized by the state of California as an Advanced Technology Partial Zero Emissions Vehicle (AT-PZEV) by meeting SULEV standards and maintaining its emissions durability for at least 150,000 miles or 15 Years. As an alternative fuel vehicle with extremely low smog-forming emissions, the Civic Natural Gas currently qualifies for a state-issued decal allowing single-occupant access to high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) "carpool" lanes in California and several other states.
Enhanced Ammenities of the 2012 Honda PZEV
With its 2012 model, Honda attempts to improve on style and refinement, while maintaining the operational cost advantages of running a vehicle entirely on compressed natural gas (CNG). Owners can expect fuel costs to run about 30 percent lower than gasoline on a gallon equivalent basis. Keeping pace with other fuel-efficient vehicles chomping at the gate for 2012, the Civic Natural Gas comes with enhanced feature content mirroring other 2012 Civic models. Features include an “intelligent” Multi-Information Display (i-MID) enabling integration of vehicle information and compatible personal electrics with a driver-oriented 5-inch color LCD display and intuitive steering wheel controlling hands-free Bluetooth capability for compatible mobile phones and a USB audio interface for compatible music players are also standard. New for the Civic Natural Gas in 2012 will be the Honda Satellite-Linked Navigation with voice recognition, equipped with a database of retail fueling locations for CNG.
A CNG-ready version of the otherwise identical 1.8-liter, four-cylinder engine found in the Civic Sedan and Coupe models powers Honda’s natural gas sedan. The compressor ratio jumps to 12.7:1 compared with 10.6:1 in a conventional Civic sedan. A 5-speed automatic transmission comes standard. The Civic Natural Gas includes Honda's ECO Assist™ technology, an innovation that can enhance efficient vehicle operation at the touch of a button while also providing visual feedback to promote and confirm an efficient driving style.
Unique Engine Properties
The Civic Natural Gas engine incorporates unique features to operate exclusively on CNG. The unique properties of natural gas are met with exclusive fuel injectors, intake and exhaust valves, and valve seats. The higher compression ratio necessitates stronger connecting rods and special pistons.
The Civic Natural Gas 3600 p.s.i. fuel tank is located between the rear wheels. The Civic ‘s safety-engineered aluminum-lined composite fuel tank accommodates the gasoline-gallon equivalent (GGE) of 7.8 gallons of gasoline when filled to 3600 p.s.i. with CNG.
Just like other alternative fuel vehicle manufacturers, Honda doesn’t skimp on aerodynamics. Designed with a sleek windshield rake, a sweeping roofline and a new interpretation of earlier profiles, the lines of the 2012 Civic Natural Gas are meant to evoke image of sophistication with a sporty flair. The car’s low , wide stance adds to its overall visual impression.
Honda gave the 2012 model thinner A-pillars stretching further toward the front of the vehicle than in years past, to provide better visibility and give an airy look to the interior. The 2012 models also has C-pillars that stretch further toward the rear of the vehicle compared to previous models, purely to add to the overall look of the vehicle. Aerodynamic features also include flat under-body construction and functional aerodynamic strakes in front of the tires to help increase fuel-efficiency.
Honda also added additional style and functionality to the interior. The passenger room grows by 3.7 cubic feet to 94.7 with nearly three additional inches of front shoulder room. The 2012 model also comes with enhanced frontal collision energy management and vehicle-to-vehicle crash compatibility, in addition to standard safety equipment. A network of load bearing structures in the front of the vehicle enhances the overall frontal safety.