NGVA Europe: Carmakers Increasingly Relying on Gas Drives

NGVA Europe Carmakers Increasingly Relying on Gas Drives

The 83rd International Motor Show, held 7-17 in March in Geneva, Switzerland, underlines carmakers are increasingly relying on natural gas and biogas drives.

Between late 2012 and 2013, four new brands added cars powered by gas/biogas to their portfolio: Audi, Fiat, Seat and Skoda. Moreover, leading car manufacturers are now offering CNG versions for their flagship models, such as Volkswagen with the new Golf TGI Blue Motion or Fiat with its Twinair Fiat Panda Natural Power.

NGVA Europe member GASMOBIL, the national platform of the Swiss gas industry for NGV – development, is making its presence felt at the fair as well, highlighting the latest generation of NGVs at its stand. Among the cars on display is the Fiat Panda 0.9 Twinair Natural Power (80 hp), on the market since autumn 2012. This recent Panda version reduces CO2 emissions to 77 g/km when running with the 90/10 mix (68 g/km with 80/20 mix), resulting in an average consumption of 3.1 kg of natural gas/biogas per 100km, equivalent to 4.8 litres of petrol.

Exposed at the GASMOBIL stand is also SEAT’s first natural gas /biogas-powered model, the SEAT Mii EcoFuel. Introduced at the end of last year with a 68 hp three-cylinder engine, the model has a CO2 output of 71 g/km with 90/10 mix (63 g/km with 80/20 mix). SEAT joined the natural gas/biogas vehicles market at the end of 2012.

Mercedes‐Benz presented its latest NGV model, the B-Class B 200 NGD (Natural Gas Drive). Emitting 16 percent less CO2 the vehicle features significantly cleaner exhaust gases than petrol or diesel fuel and allows for around 50% lower fuel costs than a comparable petrol version. In natural gas mode, consumption of the 156 hp B 200 Natural Gas Drive is just 4.2 kg/100 km – corresponding to CO2 emissions of 115 g per kilometre. This car is displayed on the GASMOBIL stand with a sectional cut, allowing the position of the natural gas/biogas tank to be seen.

Volkswagen celebrated the world premiere of its bi-fuel Golf TGI BlueMotion at the Geneva Motor Show. The 2013 natural gas version of the best-selling model is powered by a newly developed natural-gas turbo engine (110 hp). When operating solely on natural gas the range is a good 420 km, consuming 3.5 kg of natural gas per 100 km (equivalent to 94 g/km CO2). The Golf TGI BlueMotion completes the German brand’s offer of environmentally -friendly NGVs, which includes city cars, vans and light commercial vehicles.

Furthermore, 2013 will see the debut of Lancia’s city car Ypsilon and Skoda’s model Citigo, while Audi’s natural gas/biogas version of the A3 model will be introduced before the end of the year.

With a growing number of new car brands entering the market for gas – powered vehicles in the past months and a rapidly increasing portfolio of NGVs offered by already established manufacturers, the car making industry has obviously recognised the importance and potential of methane-powered mobility.

LNG World News Staff, March 15, 2013; Image: NGVA Europe