|The Zafira CNG Turbo. Click to enlarge.|
GM Opel will introduce its first turbocharged Compressed Natural Gas compact van at the Bologna motor show (5-14 December 2008). The Zafira CNG Turbo 1.6-liter engine is designed to run on either natural gas, biomethane or any mixture of the two.
The new 1.6 CNG Turbo delivers 150 hp (112 kW) of power, with maximum torque of 210 Nm (155 lb-ft) at 2,300 rpm. Fuel consumption is 5.3 kg of natural gas per 100 km in the MVEG cycle, with 144 g/km of CO2. Top speed is 200 kph (120 mph). the 1.6 CNG Turbo delivers 60% more horsepower than the naturally aspirated CNG model for a difference of 6 grams in emissions.
Opel introduced its monovalentplus CNG system in 2001, in which the engine is optimized to primarily operate on natural gas, but can also run on gasoline. The Zafira CNG Turbo 1.6-liter engine is provided with special pistons, valves and valve seats, plus separate injection systems for natural gas and gasoline.
In gas mode alone, the vehicle can drive up to 370 km (230 miles), while the 14-liter (3.7-gallon US) reserve gasoline tank provides an additional range of 150 km (93 miles).
Due to the underfloor arrangement of the four gas tanks around the rear axle, the Zafira’s interior fully retains all its advantages in terms of variability and space. Like its sister models, the 1.6 CNG Turbo offers the Flex7 seating system, enabling the interior to be quickly converted from a seven-seater to a two-seater without any complicated procedure of removing the seats.
More than 75,000 natural gas-propelled vehicles have been sold on the five largest CNG markets (Germany, Italy, Sweden, Austria and Switzerland) in Europe in the first nine months of 2008—nearly as many as in all of 2007, in which 82,000 CNG vehicles were sold. In total, Opel has built more than 58,000 natural gas vehicles, making the brand the second largest producer of CNG models in Europe.
Some 26 percent of all CNG vehicles registered in Europe the first nine months of this year are compact vans. Opel expects its share in that market to increase because the turbo variant is geared not only to individual buyers, but taxi and commercial fleets as well.
At present, Opel’s CNG model range includes the Zafira 1.6 CNG ecoFLEX with 94 hp and the Combo 1.6 CNG ecoFLEX also with 94 hp. In Italy, the largest single market for CNG vehicles, an especially high number of Zafira CNGs are on the road. In 2007 alone, more than 6,600 units of the CNG compact vans were sold there.
The new Zafira 1.6 CNG Turbo will reach markets starting in January 2009.