Magna Steyr has introduced a CNG-fueled concept single-seater sports car, the MILA (Magna Innovation Lightweight Auto) at the Frankfurt IAA.
|The MILA CNG sports car|
The MILA uses lightweight construction and a modular design enabling different models to be built (single or two-seater, normal or high-power engine, etc.) without much extra effort, as the components and modules have been developed in advance and optimized in terms of cost and weight.
The concept uses a 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine converted to monovalent CNG operation.
Apart from installing CNG-specific injection valves, Magna made no other modifications to the original gasoline engine. Its maximum power of 110 kW (150 hp) gives the concept vehicle a top speed of more than 200 km/h (124 mph) and acceleration from 0 to 100 km/h in 6.9 seconds.
The fuel tank is a composite CNG safety pressure cylinder (aluminium liner wrapped with carbon fibre) and is located behind the driver’s seat. In the version on show at the IAA, the tank volume is 76 liters, which gives the vehicle a driving range of around 200 km (150 miles) at any one time.
The chassis is of lightweight construction made of high-strength steel, the extra stiff space frame is of 6000 series aluminium alloy. The complete vehicle weighs in at around 850 kg (1,874 pounds).
The current version of the MILA Concept experimental vehicle has a closed body with a Perspex bubble over the driver. If the vehicle goes into volume production at a later date, a three-part bubble made of laminated glass would probably replace the Plexiglas one.
Magna Steyr does not market any vehicles of its own. The company is a leading global, brand-independent engineering and manufacturing partners to auto OEMs, with services ranging from engineering and assembly of complete vehicles, development and manufacture of components and systems.
With respect to the MILA, the company is seeking an OEM as a partner with a view to jointly turning it into a production mature and marketable vehicle. Magna Steyr estimates the time required for production development to be about 23 months.
The fate of the MILA aside, Magna Steyr is confident that natural gas will gain more and more ground as an alternative fuel for road vehicles in the future. The German Automotive Industry Association forecasts that in Germany alone some two million natural gas vehicles will be licensed in the next 15 years. According to the study, natural gas vehicles could reach a market share of around 4% by the year 2020.
Accordingly, Magna Steyr will focus more on the development of natural gas engines and vehicles in the future.