German Natural Gas Vehicle Registrations on the Rise; All Alternative Drives Pass 1% Mark in October
|The dual-fuel Fiat Panda Panda goes on sale in Germany at the beginning of 2007.|
Trägerkreises Erdgasfahrzeuge reports a steady rise in natural gas vehicle registrations in Germany.
German registrations of compressed natural gas (CNG) passenger cars in October 2006 climbed 2,180 units, more than 300% of the October 2005 figure. From January to October 2006, Germans registered 9,231 natural gas passenger cars, representing a 47% increase year-on-year. There are now more than 50,000 natural gas vehicles on the road in Germany.
Sales of all alternative fuel and powertrain vehicles alternatives passed 1 % of all new passenger car registrations in 2006 for the first time in October. In addition to the 2,180 CNG cars, there were 412 gasoline-electric hybrids and 429 cars powered by LPG.
German drivers of natural gas vehicles receive a price break at the pump, with CNG costing less than both gasoline and diesel.
In the summer of 2006, Volkswagen introduced to the German market the new Caddy EcoFuel and Touran Ecofuel, while Opel introduced the Opel Zafira 1.6 CNG. Fiat will introduce a new Panda bi-power (the “Panda Panda”) at the beginning of 2007.
At the same time, the German fueling infrastructure is growing—from 700 stations today to 1,000 units projected by the end of 2008.
The Panda Panda will feature a new 1.2-liter, 8-valve engine with a dual gasoline/methane fuel system. The car, derived from the 4x4 version, incorporates two separate methane tanks, each with a capacity of 72 liters. The two tanks fitted in this way allow the same amount of room as on the original car for both passenger and luggage (approximately 200 litres with the rear seats upright).
The Panda Panda supports a driving range of 300 kilometers (186 miles) on methane only. The standard 30-liter gasoline tank capacity remains unchanged.
Natural gas vehicles reduce CO2 emissions by approximately 23% compared to the equivalent petrol vehicles and reduce particulate matter (PM) emissions to practically zero. The Panda Panda will emit 114 g CO2/km in methane mode, compared to 146 g/km in gasoline mode (combined cycle).
(A hat-tip to John!)