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Classic unveils CNG luxury cars

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Jim Burrell, assistant vice-president, American Honda Company Inc, second left, presents an Environmental Leadership Award to Jerome Borde, managing director, Ansa Automotive. With them are David Sabga, chairman, Ansa Automotive, left, and Norman A Sabga, chairman and group CEO, ANSA McAL Group. Occasion was the launch of Classic Motors new luxury CNG vehicles. Photo: Sean Nero

Jim Burrell, assistant vice-president, American Honda Company Inc, second left, presents an Environmental Leadership Award to Jerome Borde, managing director, Ansa Automotive. With them are David Sabga, chairman, Ansa Automotive, left, and Norman A Sabga, chairman and group CEO, ANSA McAL Group. Occasion was the launch of Classic Motors new luxury CNG vehicles. Photo: Sean Nero

Energy Minister Kevin Ramnarine has praised the ANSA McAL Group, parent company of Guardian Media Limited, for contributing to the country’s economic diversification. The minister spoke at Tuesday’s launch of luxury compressed natural gas vehicles by Classic Motors at its Port-of-Spain showroom. Classic Motors, a division of Ansa Automotive, unveiled its CNG luxury vehicles—the Honda City CNG and the Honda HR-V—featuring bi-fuel systems for CNG and regular fuel.

“Our country has to evolve into what we call a low carbon economy. That’s the way that the entire developed world is heading, towards low carbon sources of fuel: renewable energy and things like CNG. “And, I am also happy to hear that Honda has donated a vehicle to the National Energy Skills Company, which the students will use as a teaching device so that future technicians will understand how to repair CNG vehicles,” Ramnarine said.

Now that there are CNG vehicles ready for the road, the minister emphasised, sufficient filling stations are being opened to meet consumer demand. At present there were 13 CNG stations in Trinidad. Unipet service stations were recently opened in Brentwood, Chaguanas, and in Tacarigua. Ramnarine said the NP service station at Massy Stores in Trincity will open soon and by the third quarter of the year the St Christopher’s service station on Wrightson Road will be completed.

In addition, upgrade work is being done on the Starlite service station in Diego Martin to include CNG fuel, as well as stations along the highway in San Juan, the Churchill Roosevelt Highway and Tumpuna Road, Arima. NGC CNG had a mandate to also install CNG kits in existing gas stations across the country.

The minister said getting CNG powered vehicles into the mainstream new car market was a very important milestone in this T&T’s CNG journey. He said at last count T&T had approximately 775,000 vehicles on the road. The metrics showed there was almost one vehicle to every person over the age of 17 and the average middle class home now had not less than three vehicles.

“That’s above 775,000 vehicles on the road using approximately $1.2 billion litres of super, premium and diesel gasoline on an annual basis. That costs the country around $4.5 billion dollars every year, if the oil price were around $100.

“For 31 years, since the days when Mr (Patrick) Manning was minister of petroleum and mines, the country has been trying to introduce CNG into its transportation fuel system. We have had some progress. It started and stopped. We remember the stories of long lines at the filling station in Curepe. Taxis would snake to the back of the gas station to fill up,” the minister recalled.

In an attempt to promote use of CNG, state-owned National Gas Company (NGC) established the NGC CNG company. At present, ten per cent of fleet of the Public Transport Service Corporation (PTSC) operate on CNG and with Classic Motors is one of two new car dealers offering CNG vehicles for sale.

The $2 billion CNG initiative being spearheaded by NGC CNG is expected to reduce the country’s fuel subsidy and increase exports of fuels, with the environmental benefit of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 360,000 metric tonnes per year. The plan is for the opening of 35 CNG stations and for almost 100,000 CNG powered vehicles to be on the road at the end of the project. CNG is the lowest cost fuel alternative available on the local market. It costs 81 per cent less than premium, 60 per cent lower than super and 29 per cent lower than diesel.

—with additional reporting by Suzanne Sheppard

Article Source: Trinidad Guardian
Story By: Sean Nero
Date: Friday 20th March, 2014
http://www.guardian.co.tt/business/2015-03-20/classic-unveils-cng-luxury-cars