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Magna Steyr’s MILA Natural Gas Sports Car Concept

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.



"monovalent CNG"?

It's a pity that the engine was unmodified; CNG has a much higher octane rating than most gasolines, so an increase of compression would be possible with the attendant boost in both torque and efficiency.


Monovalent: runs only on CNG.


That's a use of "valence" which seems designed to confuse.  What's wrong with "mono-fuel"?


I hear you—that’s the term (and bivalent, to add more confusion) that the CNG marketers in Europe use...e.g. Opel monovalentPlus.


Is there a point to this exercise? The car is not going to see the light of day. And the engine doesn't do anything to push the envelope of design.


Using natural gas to power a car will just make natural gas more expensive for heating the house because of greater demand. They are always looking for an excuse to raise the price of natural gas. They are more crooked than the oil companies.

Henry Gibson

While the methane, which is predominant in most natural gas, produces less carbon dioxide than gasoline per unit of energy, the difference is reduced because the water that is produced in combustion is not condensed in any automotive engine. It can be shown that even pure carbon burnt in a coal fired power plant to provide electricity for L-ion car batteries, in electric cars, can release less carbon dioxide per mile traveled than any methane powered car.

Even if the pollution and CO2 released by the refining of oil into gasoline is ignored, the pollution and CO2 release of a coal fired power plant is far less if an electric car uses that power than if a gasoline car of the same weight and speed is used for the same trip, and the pollution is also not at street level in the center of a city.

Actually pure carbon could have been burnt in many cars during WWII and could be used to fuel a car presently with a special tiny converter built from modern ceramics. There would be no worry about the release of unburnt hydrocarbons that produce smog, and the release of CO2 per mile traveled would not be much greater than that of a gasoline car if any.

How much CO2 is released per mile depends on the car and the speed and the driver. Shell UK has built an efficiency contest winning single person gasoline super-micro-vehicle that can travel 10,000 miles on a gallon of gasoline at 15 miles per hour. This uses less fuel than walking uses food for the same distances. The car is not street legal but has good brakes and a horn.

A compressed natural gas car is, however, a big step in freeing the consumer from the extortions of American and World financeers who have cornered the oil market by bidding on oil futures, combined with the reluctance of oil producing countries to increase production until they have forced the price very high. Methane can be produced from coal at a fraction of the cost of oil according to some companies. It also can be produced from any new or waste organic materials on a persons own property. A research institute in India has developed a small digester that rapidly produces Methane from starch and sugar containing materials. Why power a car from ethanol, when corn, potatoes, fruit and other waste and new materials, such as flour and sugar, can be fermented rapidly into methane and compressed for use in cars. Compressors used for home-fueling of Honda cars could be used or Scuba-diving compressors modified.

Car builders could make a gasoline car work on methane or gasoline at less than 300 dollars including tanks that will hold enough methane for 30-90 miles, and for longer distances use gasoline or ethanol. Tiny high pressure methane tanks can be put in any odd available space and be connected with tiny steel tubes. There is no space or weight efficiency gained by having large tanks. The car computer can be just slightly modified to either run the injectors or the methane valve. There is no substantial additional advantage worth the cost to use the high octane-rating of methane by building a special engine.

Eventually cheap electrically controlled intake and exhaust valves will be built that can allow car engines to run on anything from methane to gasoline at the highest efficiency. Coates Ltd. may have built precursers of such valves. The valves could even temporarly lower the engine octane requirements enough to run a car on Coleman lantern fuel or light diesel. Car makers can, even now, be required to make cars that can run on pure or mixed alcohols of any type. Using copper and resistant plastics instead of zinc, steel and aluminum in the fuel system is all that is required and this can be done for less than $100 per car. While methanol has less energy per gallon than gasoline, it can be made now at far less cost than gasoline per mile equivalent and was, until recently when replaced by ethanol, required to be used for most US auto racing. Filling the tank twice as often is insignificant for most automobile users...hg....


so how and where can i get one of these great cars?


Exactly Gloria how do I buy one?

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