A 45 MPG Minivan with Turbocharging and Direct Injection that Runs on CNG and Gasoline
Photo: VWVW Touran Minivan gets Dual-Fuel TSI EcoFuel Powertrain (CNG & Gasoline)Volkswagen has decided to put its 1.4-liter TSI EcoFuel engine in its Touran Minivan/MPV. This means that it can run on both gasoline and compressed natural gas (CNG), giving it cleaner emissions and reducing the amount of CO2 produced per kilometer (more technical details below). Of course, natural gas is still a fossil fuel (well, unless it is methane reclaimed from a landfill or something like that), but it greener than gasoline (The 2009 Honda Civic GX was recognized by the EPA as the "cleanest-internal combustion vehicle on Earth") and most people could refuel from their home, so it's surprising that CNG vehicles haven't caught on.Photo: VWTouran TSI EcoFuel Technical SpecificationsThe first thing to note - and it's visible at a glance when you look at the first picture above - is the dual fuel system.
When the engine is running on gasoline, it gets 5.2l/100km (45 mpg U.S.) and the fuel is stored in a small 11-liter tank (3 gallons US). But the main fuel source is the 4 CNG tanks that can store 18 kilograms of natural gas, giving the Touran TSI a CNG range of 370 kilometers (240 miles), or 520 kilometers (325 miles) if you count both the CNG and gasoline tanks. On CNG it gets 4.7 kg/100 km, and CO2 emissions are 126 g/km.
The 1.4-liter engine might seem small, but it has both a turbocharger and direct injection, making it generate 150 hp and get from 0 to 62 mph in 10.1 seconds.
If VW was bringing the Touran TSI EcoFuel to North-America, we think it could probably make the fuel tanks a bit bigger since drivers here probably drive long distances on average. But even if that increased weight a bit, the Touran would probably still get better MPG and CO2 emissions than the vast majority of cars on the road here (even smaller vehicles). What are you waiting for, VW?
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