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Summary:

In case you were wondering how T. Boone Pickens was going to break the home distribution bottleneck in his plan to get the U.S. to power its vehicles with natural gas, here’s one possible answer: Natural gas vehicle distribution company Clean Energy Fuels (CLNE), of which […]

In case you were wondering how T. Boone Pickens was going to break the home distribution bottleneck in his plan to get the U.S. to power its vehicles with natural gas, here’s one possible answer: Natural gas vehicle distribution company Clean Energy Fuels (CLNE), of which Pickens is a founder, said this morning that it plans to acquire FuelMaker from American Honda Corp. and the FuelMaker Trust for $17 million in cash. Founded in 1989 and based in Toronto, FuelMaker makes natural gas refueling appliances for industrial fleets, as well as a home consumer product called the Phill (seriously, it’s called the Phill).

The Phill, which was unveiled by Honda and FuelMaker in 2002, compresses natural gas from home gas lines, takes about four hours to fill an empty tank after a 50-mile drive, uses 800 watts, and weighs about 100 lbs. The biggest barrier to consumers buying the Phill is its price tag — we called the customer service line and the representative said we could get the Phill for between $5,500 and $6,000, including installation ($1,500) and shipping ($200). The representative said we were also eligible for a tax rebate of $1,000, or 30 percent of the cost.

In European countries like France, Italy, Switzerland, Poland, Finland, the Netherlands and Belgium, as well as in China, consumers can get the Phill through utility gas providers. In the U.S., you can buy the Phill directly in certain states. The device is meant to be installed in a garage or outside and in an installer needs to come to your house to pre-approve that your gas and electrical system is compatible.

Perhaps with Clean Energy Fuels, and Picken’s publicity, behind the wheel of the Phill, the device can get more distribution and awareness. We can’t imagine that many have been sold-to-date, given there’s still few natural gas vehicles on road. But then again former owner Honda has bigger pockets, and one of the most well known consumer natural gas cars out there — the Honda Civic GX, which costs $24,590, is sold in California and New York and has a 170-mile fuel range.

Clean Energy Fuels, despite a lack of profits, has taken an acquisition strategy to its growth. Last month the company said it had purchased Dallas Clean Energy (DCE) for $19.1 million. DCE is the owner of the McCommas Bluff landfill gas processing plant, which the firms claim is the third largest landfill gas operation in the U.S. Then earlier in August, Clean Energy Fuels, said it had joined with the investment group Perseus, and T. Boone Pickens to support the creation of a natural gas vehicle to the tune of $160 million. Clean Energy Fuels and Pickens plan to each commit $10 million, and Perseus is led the investment; the Vehicle Production Group will build the vehicle.

By Katie Fehrenbacher

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  1. [...] Pickens Meet Phill: Clean Energy Fuels Buys Natural Gas Vehicle Device Maker: The biggest barrier to consumers buying the Phill is its price tag — we called the customer service line and the representative said we could get the Phill for between $5,500 and $6,000, including installation ($1,500) and shipping ($200). The representative said we were also eligible for a tax rebate of $1,000, or 30 percent of the cost. [...]

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  2. Clean Energy has made a great investment in Fuelmaker, esp assuming Prop 10 in Cal passes. Prop 10 is Clean Energy’s blatant attempt to transfer wealth from the public (schools, hospitals, clinics, sick, and poor) to itself. Besides the nearly 3 billion in rebates for natural gas vehicles, it provides about $25 million in rebates ($2000 each) for home refueling appliances like the Phill. So, again, assuming Prop 10 passes, which it likely will given no well-funded opposition, that’s a cool, quick $8 million profit stream.

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  3. [...] Pickens Meet Phill: Clean Energy Fuels Buys Natural Gas Vehicle Device Maker: Pickens’ natural gas vehicle distribution company Clean Energy Fuels (CLNE) plans to acquire FuelMaker from American Honda Corp. and the FuelMaker Trust for $17 million in cash. [...]

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  4. [...] taken a very aggressive approach to building out its business across the natural gas vehicle world. Earlier this month the company said it plans to acquire FuelMaker, makers of the home consumer natural gas refueller “The Phill,” [...]

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  5. Why did Honda sell Fuelmaker and why is it only allowing 90 GX’s per month to be sold in U.S.?

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  6. [...] company of which former oil barron T. Boone Pickens is a director and largest shareholder, said last month it planned to buy FuelMaker from Honda and the FuelMaker Trust for $17 million. Well, this morning [...]

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  7. [...] company of which former oil barron T. Boone Pickens is a director and largest shareholder, said last month it planned to buy FuelMaker from Honda and the FuelMaker Trust for $17 million. Well, late [...]

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  8. The purchase of FuelMaker should make it possible for me to buy a Phill. I have been trying to buy one for the last 5 years and have been ignored.

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  9. hi,
    i am interested in buying this equipment , infact i want to introdouce this fabulous product in pakistan, can you send me the exact price you can offer me in case of bulk and, all the specification with manual book.
    thank you.

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  10. I to have been interested in buying a phill, and can not find the mfg.s address or a distributor. I would be interested in becoming a distributor.

    I hear a lot of talk, but not much specific information; is this some kind of game or secret.

    If you have any info. concerning this product please contact me. @ russell. duty @yahoo.com

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