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Friday June 13, 2008

Rush to fit natural gas gadget

THERE have been times when Steven Ng of Sugio NGV Technology had thought about giving up his involvement in the natural gas vehicle (NGV) business that he ventured into six years ago.

For the first four years, business was very bad. But Ng persevered with strong will power and determination, staying on in the business despite the odds.

Today, the plucky Ng can now stand and walk tall.

Hidden away: A gas intake valve will be installed next to the vehicles petrol tank cap.

While everyone is complaining about the steep hike in petrol and diesel prices, Ng has reason to smile. Why?

People are suddenly realising that converting their vehicles to run on NGV would help ease their financial burdens.

“I had tough times during the first four years as the business was not good and I only saw some signs of progress after 2006,” Ng recalled.

“From the very first day, I knew this was the business of the future but things did not go as I expected until just a week ago when the government raised the petrol price to RM2.70 sen per litre,” Ng said.

“It is only due to the drastic increase in the petrol price that people are thinking of converting their vehicles to run on NGV,” Ng told StarMetro during an interview.

Necessary: A reducer is installed in the engine to allow it to use natural gas.

Ng said his business had grown sixfold over the last one week and he was having a tough time coping with the increasing demand from motorists who wanted their vehicles converted into the NGV mode immediately.

Ng said that in recent months, he used to have about five walk-in customers per day but the situation changed drastically now as his centre had been converting some 20 vehicles per day.

“There have been an average of 30 people lining up with their vehicles at my centre daily but it can only serve 20 vehicles per day,” he said.

Ng said that his centre was now operating at maximum capacity, with his workers putting in extra hours each day.

He said the demand for supply from dealers and other NGV conversion centres had also been overwhelming with orders amounting to hundreds per day.

Space saver: Rahadojjamah Shamhhser showing the amount of space available in a car boot after the cylinder was installed.

“You would be surprised by the number of calls I have been receiving each day. I am forced to turn down orders from some the dealers due to lack of stock,” he said.

According to Ng, the parts for the conversion, including gas cylinders and reducers, are imported from Europe, Argentina and India.

Ng said that due to the current high demand, he had ran out of cylinders for smaller vehicles such as Perodua Kancil and Proton Iswara Aeroback, which required cylinders between 45 and 60kgs.

“However, we have a new stock of 75kg cylinders for the other vehicles that are made from fibre and metal. These are lighter than the metal cylinders,” he said.

Ng said almost all kinds of vehicles, including the small Kancil cars, could be converted into the NGV mode.

According to Ng, the price ranged from RM3,000 and above based on the engine capacity and size of the vehicles.

Vehicles operating with carburettor engines will cost less compared with those operating on fuel injection vehicles.

“Our technicians are very experienced and they will fix the cylinders in such away that only one-third of your boot will be taken up by the cylinders,” Ng said.

Counting the numbers: A worker checking on the tanks available.

“The conversion can be done within half a day and customers will be provided with certificates from the Road Transport Department and a warranty as well,” he said.

Ng said the NGV conversion was an additional feature and the vehicle could still run on petrol if necessary.

He said that by converting a vehicle to run on NGV, a motorist could save 60% to 70% in fuel costs.

“You can travel at as low as 5 sen per km depending on the engine capacity of your vehicle,” he said.

Ng said NGV was environment-friendly and vehicles running on natural gas produced zero pollution.

“Our roads will be free from smoke pollution if all the vehicles turn to natural gas for fuel,” he said.

Ng said the NGV conversion could be done on all types of vehicles, including petrol and diesel cars, vans, four-wheel drive and multipurpose vehicles (MPV).

He said the power of the vehicles operated via natural gas would be slightly less than those operated with petrol.

“However, we can add components that will able to compensate the power and at the same time reduce the fuel cost if customers are willing to spend a bit of extra money,” he said.

Ng is obviously making regular trips to the bank, powered by, what else, NGV!

For enquiry, Ng can be contacted at: 03-6188 6600. Sugoi NGV is located at Unit F-2, Block F, Lot 44721 Jalan Perusahaan 1, Batu Caves Industrial Estate, Batu Caves.

Related Stories:
More natural gas stations needed, say motorists

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