FuelMaker Assets Finally Find a Buyer, Natural Gas Cars Still Stalled

phillbanktruptUpdated: FuelMaker, the beleaguered firm that made natural gas vehicle fueling stations for home users dubbed “Phill,” has finally found a buyer — well, its assets have. American Honda, the U.S. division of Honda (s HMC), which partly owned the decade-old Toronto-based company, has been trying to sell the firm for months — expending “considerable time and effort,” as American Honda put it recently in their statement. Meanwhile FuelMaker ceased operations and started bankruptcy proceedings in April. Well, this morning American Honda says a subsidiary of the automotive holding company Fuel Systems Solutions (s FSYS) has bought up the assets and IP of FuelMaker for $7 million an undisclosed sum (it’s got to be very low — it was previously selling for $17 million).

Despite FuelMaker’s best efforts, the natural gas vehicle distribution businesses just failed to take off. The device compresses natural gas from home gas lines, takes about four hours to fill an empty tank after a 50-mile drive (yawn), and costs between $5,500 and $6,000 (sticker shock). But the biggest barrier is clearly that natural gas vehicles are few and far between — Honda’s Civic GX is about the only consumer natural gas car around and can only be bought for $24,590 in select locations in California and New York. There’s more natural gas cars in city and enterprise fleets (AT&T plans to purchase 8,000 of ’em), but still the market is nascent.
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USB charger handles all your phones at once

We joke often about MobileTechRoundup host Matt Miller’s staggering phone collection.  Matt has more phones than probably anyone you’ll ever see and as he travels a lot it’s always a fun process to try and guess how many phones he’ll take with him.


A new USB charger from USBfever may be just what Matt needs with its 5 ports that can let him charge 5 phones at the same time from a single plug.  The charger has 4 standard USB ports and one mini-USB and will charge any device that charges via USB.  $26.

(via engadget)

Off-Topic: Why Citibank Should Vanish

citilogoAfter a long day, I returned home to find a mound of junk mail clogging my mailbox. Of note was a letter from Citibank informing me that it was jacking up the interest charged on my credit card, adding more fees for foreign transactions and other such issues that might result from an economic meltdown. Not much of this impacted me personally, but something bothered me about this letter dubbed a “notice of change in terms and right to opt out.” Read More about Off-Topic: Why Citibank Should Vanish