LA Auto Show: Eco-Fueler's CNG-powered American Roadster in production

Officials from Eco-Fueler told AutoblogGreen at the LA Auto Show that the company's CNG-powered American Roadster 3-wheeler is now in production and the first units will be delivered to customers in mid-January. The production facility is in Eugene, Oregon, and more than 700 pre-orders have been accepted by Eco-Fueler. While the American Roadster has been marketed as a vehicle that runs on compressed natural gas, it can easily burn hydrogen. "In reality, this is the first production hydrogen vehicle in the world," said the vehicle's chief designer, John Green. "Whenever there is a large supply of hydrogen available, it can switch to hydrogen mode in no time."

Cost is just under $20,000 and the Roadster is eligible for a $4,000 federal tax credit. The retail price includes a home-refueling appliance that operates on the principle of slow-moving hydraulics. Other home-based refuelers have high-speed valves that are electrically operated. Jerry Hendricks, company CEO, says the hydraulic refueler doesn't build up heat and hardly needs maintenance. The refueler fills up the 5-gallon tank in the trunk of the Roadster. It feeds a water-cooled,4-cylinder Boxer-style engine that is designed to run on CNG. In other words, it's not a gas engine converted to run on CNG. It features a higher compression ratio and plumbing dedicated to compressed natural gas. Range on one tank of fuel is about 700 miles.

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