In 2009, Opel will introduce one new 1.6-liter turbo CNG engine (Compressed Natural Gas) with around 110 kW/150 hp and 210 Nm of torque. Devel oped by GM Powertrain in Turin, the new unit joins Opel’s current aspirated CNG engine, which has the same displacement and an output of 69 kW/94 hp. “Environmental awareness and driving fun are no longer mutually exclusive,” says Alain Visser, Chief Marketing Officer, GM Europe. “With this newly developed turbocharged CNG engine, we continue pursuing our strategy of turbocharging engines to increase efficiency – meaning lower consumption and emissions – without making any concessions in performance.”
Key features of the new CNG engine include a turbocharger integrated into the exhaust manifold, an intake manifold with gasoline and CNG fuel pipes, an oil cooler and piston cooling. By virtue of their propulsion units, natural gas-powered Opel vehicles produce 80 percent less nitrogen oxide than a diesel, and almost 20 percent less CO2 than a gasoline model (nearly 10 percent less CO2 than diesel). Furthermore, the exhaust gases contain almost no soot particles.
As a pioneer in natural gas vehicles, Opel broke new ground over seven years ago with the launch of the first Zafira CNG. With its monovalentplus concept, the car showcased the brand’s focus on excellent efficiency combined with unrestricted everyday suitability. Thanks to this concept, Opel became the first automaker to optimize an engine for both natural gas and gasoline operation.
Opel currently offers the Combo high-roof van and highly successful Zafira compact monocab with the 1.6 CNG aspirated engine. With CO2 emissions of just 138 g/km, the Opel Zafira CNG is the most environmentally friendly seven-seater available: in 2007/2008, it was named “Best Seven-seater” in the German Motor Club Environmental Car List – a title it has now held for five years in a row.
Opel is a leading German producer of natural gas-powered series production vehicles in Europe. A few days ago, the 50,000th CNG model left the OSV assembly lines in Rüsselsheim – seven years after production began in 2001. Last year also saw a new record with more than 12,000 Combo CNG and Zafira CNG models registered – a jump of 50 percent over the previous year. CNG vehicles continue to enjoy growing popularity, particularly in Germany and Italy.