## Mercedes Introduces New Natural Gas B-Class Model

##### 22 May 2008
 In addition to the gasoline tank, the B 170 NGT has five natural gas reservoirs with a total capacity of 16 kilograms. Click to enlarge.

Mercedes-Benz has introduced a new natural-gas platform in its revamped B-Class range: the B 170 NGT BlueEFFICIENCY. (Earlier post.)

The bi-fuel drive B 170 NGT can run on both natural gas and premium grade gasoline while delivering an identical maximum output of 85 kW (116 hp). Five natural gas tanks with a total capacity of 16 kg provide a natural gas range of more than 300 kilometers (186 miles). With the gasoline tank, the B 170 NGT has a total range in excess of 1,000 kilometers (621 miles).

Fuel consumption is 7.3 liters of premium gasoline and 4.9 kilograms of natural gas per 100 kilometers (32 mpg gasoline). The driver determines which power source the engine is run on at the touch of a button using the multifunction steering wheel; an electronic control unit carries out the switch instantaneously without any jolts.

The four-cylinder engine has been modified by Mercedes-Benz to include additional gas injectors on the underside of the intake manifold. A close-coupled pressure governor with an electromagnetic shut-off valve regulates the supply of natural gas and keeps the pressure within the system constant.

The installation of the gas reservoirs, which are located in the rear and underneath the front passenger footwell, reduces the trunk capacity of the B-Class by 128 to 422 liters (as per the VDA measurement method).

On the NEDC cycle, the CO2 emissions when running on natural gas are 17% lower than in the gasoline-powered B 170 at 135 g/km. If the 4.9 kilograms (7.5 m³) of natural gas consumed per 100 kilometers by the new B 170 NGT BlueEFFICIENCY is converted into the equivalent quantity of gasoline energy, the fuel cost per kilometer is around 50% less than when running on gasoline, according to Daimler.

Mercedes engineers have also, for the first time, compiled a full lifecycle analysis for the natural-gas vehicle. Assuming a total distance travelled of 150,000 kilometers (93,205 miles), overall CO2 emissions are some 20% below the figure for the comparable gasoline-engined model. NOx emissions are 11% lower, and CO emissions are down 54%. The greater ecological cost of the manufacturing process for the new B 170 NGT is balanced out after a distance of 17,300 kilometers (10,750 miles).

With oil at $135/bbl we cannot afford to use that for vehicles.......UK will be importing 1 million barrels of oil a day in 5 years....that will cost$1 billion per week!

Gas to liquids plants take natural gas and convert it to diesel, makes more sense to use the natural gas as vehicle - saves about 40% CO2, has to make sense...a lot cheaper to build CNG infrastrucure than it is to build GTL plants.

FuelMaker Corporation will probably sell a lot of their 'Phill' NG systems in Europe for these cars.

CNG is also a stepping stone to renewable fuel. Think biogas [SNG] and Hythane [HCNG].

Nice Job by mercedes, I really like the ecological payback numbers! But when weill it be coming to north america?

This is a great idea for countries with excess NG. For regions which import both oil and NG (e.g. USA, Europe) it doesn't really help to switch from one to the other.

The introduction of flex fuel ethanol/gasoline in Brazil a few years ago has turned ethanol from large niche to recently the most applied fuel for private transportation. This happened in a remarkable short time span of 4-6 years and the development continues because ethanol is 20%-30% cheaper than gasoline in terms of miles driven.

The introduction of flex fuel natural gas/gasoline vehicle like this Mercedes could potentially bring similar success to the spread of compressed natural gas as a vehicle fuel. Natural gas also cost about 20-40% less than gasoline in terms of miles driven and this should easily make up for the extra cost of such a flex fuel vehicle. However, things will take a lot more time with natural gas than the Brazilian case because the infrastructure needs to start up form almost zero in most of the world. When flex fuel ethanol was introduced in Brazil ethanol was already available at some 20-30% (a rough estimate didn’t check) of all gas stations in Brazil. For comparison in EU, USA and Japan it is less than 1% of all gas stations that carry compressed natural gas. Local tax breaks for gas stations to install natural gas pumps would be helpful to speed up this transition.

DDW
I am not sure you are right about that EU and the US has no point in switching. Both natural gas and oil is going up in price and that will cause many homeowners and commercial customers to switch away from these fossil fuels into electric heat pumps and better insulation. The saved oil and gas could be used for vehicle transportation. Furthermore, EU could switch oil imports from unstable Middle East countries to more gas imports from Russia and Norway (and Denmark has enormous to be discovered oil and gas reservoirs in Greenland though I personally hope it will stay undiscovered). Also peek oil is going to happen in oil before we see something similar in natural gas. So there are both strategic and economic reasons to do a partial switch from oil to gas at least in Europe.

To attain the full benefits of CNG, you have to optimize the engine for that fuel. Which means, you can't use gasoline. This would not be too much of a handicap for vehicles intended for operation within a given region, i.e. limousines, school buses, taxicabs, et cetera. If a number of businesses and public agencies are utilizing CNG vehicles, you could arrange for common fuelling facilities.

I favor tax rebates for those willing to go through the trouble of conversion to dedicated natural gas operation (or for that matter other suitable alternative fuels), if it has redeeming social value (i.e. less pollution, reduced contribution to the greenhouse effect).

I've been wanting to convert my pickup to CNG for a long
time now, but I can't find anyone to do it for me. Do
I have to import a mechanic from Pakistan under the H-1B Program to get it done?

If I can get it converted, I'll buy Fuelmaker's MyPhill
immediately.

Australia has huge reserves of natural gas but is importing increasing quantities of oil. A visionary energy policy would encourage a switch-over to natural gas as a transport fuel. Instead the dinosaurs in government (current and previous) have signed a long-term deal to sell CNG to China at, reportedly, 1 cent per litre. The electorate get done over once again.

It will be interesting to see if natural gas becomes a mainstream fuel in countries that have large reserves or if the jump is straight to plug-ins and EV's.

It is crazy not to use natural gas.
It is a ready to go fuel.
There are some "challenges" in terms of storage and fueling, but nothing insurmountable.
It is clean and readily available in many locations.
It seems obvious that it should be developed.

Interesting that they have 5 tanks in the car - presumably a redesign could reduce that number while leaving plenty of luggage space.

Also, you could hybridize the vehicles to varying degrees to further increase the economy.

- JM

1 cent/L ? Expensive!

$0.01/L * 7500L/100km (see above) =$0.75/km (ouch!)

Seems like NG prices better be 10x cheaper to save you money!

I guess there would also have to be 5 shutoff mechanisms in case of collision. If PHEV batteries will be suitcase sized I guess that rules out a large CNG tank as well unless the car towed a trailer. I understand carbon fibre CNG tanks are a third the weight of metal tanks but are currently too expensive. If CNG for private cars is the way ahead we may have to put with less range and less luggage space.

The 20 to 40% estimate I gave above about the saved money per miles driven when using natural gas rather than gasoline may be too low. GdB comment prompted me to reread and instead I noticed this “the fuel cost per kilometer is around 50% less than when running on gasoline, according to Daimler.” See text above.

Daimler’s estimate could be in the high end since they are interested in promoting this technology and it depends on the price of gas and gasoline that varies much from country to country but surely the savings will be very much worthwhile.

Henrik, you raise some good points about NG. Perhaps it does make sense in Europe, though frankly I'm not sure I'd trust the Russians any more than the Saudis. Increased US NG supplies will be mostly LNG, however, which is a poor way to move energy. It makes much more sense for NG producer nations to use CNG cars. They can fill up with $2-3/mmBTU local NG and sell the$20+/mmBTU oil to us. It's a win-win.

CNG probably makes more sense in trucks and buses, anyway. Much of the world (especially Europe) has too much gasoline and not enough diesel. As we move toward electric cars, ethanol, etc. this situation gets worse. CNG in trucks and buses will displace diesel and help keep the gas/diesel ratio in balance.

The US is much better off switching to EREVs fueled by wind. US wind now costs about 30 cents per gallon of gasoline equivalent, the resource is abundant and intermittency is not a problem since PHEVs have built-in storage and backup power. Plus we'd get megatonnes of CO2 brownie points. 30 cents/gallon green domestic fuel vs. 3.00+/gallon dirty terrorism fuel is the most obvious no-brainer I've ever seen.

Hi
in italy we have a boom for this chance.See FIAT cars.
Ciao

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