Isuzu Opens Its First CNG Station in Japan
Isuzu began operation of its first compressed natural gas (CNG) refueling station in Japan during a ceremony held on April 4. The 1,000-square-meter facility, named the Shonandai Isuzu Eco Station, is located adjacent to the company’s Fujisawa Plant.
Guests attending the ceremony included the mayor of Fujisawa and the chairman of the city assembly. Isuzu Executive Director Yoshito Mochizuki delivered a speech on behalf of the company.Air pollution and other environmental problems have stimulated a rising demand in Japan for low-impact vehicles powered by alternative fuels. CNG is a popular alternative fuel because it does not produce particulate matter or black smoke, and generates less nitrogen oxide than fossil fuels.
CNG vehicle users already range from local governments and freight transporters to the general public. As of the end of March, Japan had 16,561 CNG vehicles in use, of which 40 percent, or 6,697 units, were trucks. The continued rise in popularity of these vehicles depends, however, on the continued expansion of refueling stations nationwide.Isuzu began its involvement with CNG trucks and buses in 1993, when an N Series light-duty truck was officially approved for street use. Mass production of the model, known locally as the Elf CNG, began in 1998 in accordance with the increasing demand for clean vehicles. Today, the model continues to steadily gain popularity as a low-emission intra-city delivery vehicle. The Elf CNG captured 68 percent of its class in 2002 and totaled 4,814 cumulative registrations as of March.