Volkswagen Steps on the Gas for a Cleaner Environment

Volkswagen Group increases its product range to 19 gas-powered passenger car models. BioCNG for climate-neutral mobility on the advance.

Herbert Diess already announced in mid-May 2019 that CNG would continue to play an important role in Volkswagen Group’s future: “We are the world’s market leader in gas engines and better positioned than our competitors. We will also continue to expand and improve this technology,” said the CEO at the Annual General Meeting in Berlin.

Now the Group is letting the facts speak for themselves: The commitment to CNG as an alternative drive is reflected in the increasingly attractive model range across the Group’s brands. Currently, 17 models are available in various vehicle segments – from the small, to compact car segments at Volkswagen, Audi, SEAT and ŠKODA, to Audi’s premium class models and also light commercial vehicles. The ŠKODA Scala1, which will celebrate its world premiere as a CNG variant at the CNG Mobility Days, and the ŠKODA Kamiq2 with CNG drive will soon be added to the range. With a total of 19 models, Volkswagen Group now has the most comprehensive and diverse range of CNG vehicles. Thanks to the steadily growing CNG model range, sales figures in 2018 rose by 190 percent compared with the previous year.

The use of CNG as an energy source for automobiles makes a directly effective contribution to reducing emissions and is an economical alternative to petrol and diesel for the customer. “Volkswagen is committed to the Paris Climate Agreement. CNG plays an important role in alternative drives, which are used alongside the Group’s electrification offensive. CNG is sufficiently proven, immediately available, efficient and cost-effective. Also CNG cars are not threatened with driving bans in city centers. When BioCNG is used, the vehicles are almost climate-neutral,” explains Stephen Neumann, Volkswagen Group Representative for CNG Mobility, and adds: “BioCNG underscores the ecological and sustainable character of CNG as a form of operating energy.”

In the new CNG models, such as the Polo TGI3 (66 kW/90 PS) and Golf TGI4 (96 kW/130 PS), the fuel tank was significantly reduced in size, an additional CNG tank was installed in the vehicles and a quasi monovalent CNG drive was developed. This is Volkswagen's response to the wish of many customers for a longer range in natural gas operation. The VW Golf TGI and Golf Estate TGI5 (96 kW/130 PS) also received an engine optimized for CNG use with particularly low fuel consumption, higher output and improved pulling characteristics even at low engine speeds. 

The Polo TGI demonstrated in the latest ADAC Ecotest how economical, clean, cost-effective and attractive CNG models can be. It was one of seven models with a top rating of five stars and the only vehicle with a combustion engine in this group. The result of 95 points was the best result achieved so far in 2019. The latest addition to the market is the SEAT Arona 1.0 TGI6, with which the Spanish company is the first manufacturer worldwide to offer CNG technology in a SUV model – the fastest growing vehicle segment. The new 2.0 TFSI engine from Audi, for example in the A5 Sportback g-tron7, underscores the fact that a CNG model can also be particularly sporty and dynamic. The engine recently won the “International Engine of the Year” award in the category from 150 to 250 PS and can also be used as a CNG powered engine.

Immediately available as an alternative for trucks
Gas and Biofuels are crucial to achieving the Paris climate protection goals. According to the new emission standards in the European Union, CO2 emissions are to fall by 30 percent by the year 2030 compared to 2019 – a goal that can hardly be achieved with conventional drive types. Against this background, CNG is also becoming increasingly interesting for trucks and buses: as an immediately available and usable alternative. “We can’t wait until, in perhaps ten years’ time, the electric drive becomes established on long-haul routes, for example,” explains Henrik Henriksson, President and CEO of Scania.  Scania therefore welcomes the German Bundestag's decision to exempt not only electric trucks but also gas-powered vehicles weighing 7.5 tons or more from tolls. Henrik Henriksson: “This will make this sustainable option even more attractive for freight haulers. CNG trucks emit up to 15 percent less CO2 than comparable diesel trucks.

MAN, Europe’s market and technology leader for CNG city buses, also believes that a technology mix of gas, biofuels or highly efficient diesel and hybrid drives will play the most important role in the truck sector until electric drives are completely sustainable. The trend is certainly towards electric buses in the medium term, says Gero Hildebrandt, Product Marketing Bus at MAN Truck & Bus Germany. “But the switch to battery drives only really makes sense when the energy transition to green electricity has been completed. Until then, the gas drive will be able to play to its strengths for a long time to come: CNG buses are very reliable, economical and, thanks to their Euro 6 conformity, extremely clean. In combination with gas from biomass or wind power, CNG city buses are even the most economical solution for a quasi CO2 neutral public transport system. More and more planners from a wide variety of public transport companies worldwide, including those in Seoul, Madrid, Paris, Copenhagen and Warsaw, are already relying on environmentally friendly CNG buses from MAN for air pollution control in local public transport.

At the 3rd CNG Mobility Days in Berlin, Volkswagen is also presenting a look into the future: The VW Passat CNG-PHEV is a research vehicle (study) from Volkswagen Group Research that combines a PHEV drive with a CNG internal combustion engine and thus saves another 20 percent CO2 compared to a standard VW Passat GTE. In this vehicle, the use of petrol is completely dispensed with, so that in combination with the monovalent CNG engine and the hybrid drive train, the emission-reducing effect of the plug-in hybrid principle is fully exploited. “The VW Passat CNG-PHEV shows how attractive future CNG models can be,” says Stephen Neumann.

Fuel consumption 

1 Škoda Scala: study close to series production.
2 Škoda Karmiq: study close to series production.
3 Polo TGI 66 kW/90 PS Fuel consumption in kg/100 km (NEDC): urban 4,3–4,1 / extra-urban 2,8–2,7 / combined 3,4–3,2; CO2-Emissions in g/km: 93–88 (combined), Efficiency class: A+
4 Golf TGI 96 kW/130 PS Fuel consumption in kg/100 km (NEDC): urban 4,7–4,5 / extra-urban 2,9 / combined 3,6–3,5; CO2-Emissions in g/km: 98–95 (combined), Efficiency class: A+
5 VW Golf Estate TGI 96 kW/130 PS Fuel consumption in kg/100 km (NEDC): urban 4,7 / extra-urban 3,0 / combined 3,6; CO2-Emissions in g/km: 99 (combined), Efficiency class: A+
6 SEAT Arona 1.0 TGI 66 kW/ 90 PS Fuel consumption in kg/100 km (NEDC): 4,3–3,0 kg/100 km; CO2-Emissions combined: 98 g/100 km, CO2-Efficiency class: A
7 Audi A4 Avant g-tron 125 kW/170 PS Fuel consumption in kg/100 km (NEDC) combined 4,1–3,9 kg/100 km; CO2-Emissions combined: 113–105 g/100 km, CO2-Efficiency class: A+

Source: VW Corporate
Date: Jun 25, 2019