Wright said his team was able to keep costs down on the boat conversion by working with a kit maker to engineer the needed parts.
“Obviously it demonstrates our capability of pushing the bounds of performance,” he said.
In the future, he said Malibu could tweak its manufacturing process to accommodate CNG conversions.
Wright said he expects there to be a lot of interest in CNG among boaters. He said he had gotten requests to convert boats over the past five years or so, “but nobody wanted to be the guinea pig.”
Wright said newer boats such as the Wakesetter are more like cars because they meet standards meant to reduce air pollution.
“This could be a big advantage,” he said. “Natural gas is cleaner.”
Wright said natural gas also is a viable option for recreational vehicles, another industry hampered by poor gas mileage and high fuel costs.
“Natural gas could potentially save their industries,” he said.
Wright said CNG Interstate, which has doubled the size of its workshop since it opened its Oklahoma operations in 2011, is focusing on product development, while earning certification from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and California Air Resources Board.
He said he wants his company to develop better ways to install the equipment needed to convert vehicles to CNG, with an eye toward eventually supplying those solutions to other companies.
Expects to expand
Wright said he expects CNG Interstate to expand from its current 7,500-square-foot space, with plans to open a separate emissions lab in the future to prepare for new federal air quality regulations.