The 2017 version of the Africa Eco Race, held in North Africa since 2009, has served the purpose of the KAMAZ team by drawing attention to the possibilities and performance of natural gas as a fuel for transportation. The gas-fueled KAMAZ led by Sergey Kupriyanov finished among the top ten in the final standings and was best among hybrid vehicles.
Starting in Monaco, the rally passed through Mauritania to Senegal, covering 12 stages and more than 6500 kilometres in just under two weeks.
It was the third African rally for Sergey Kupriyanov’s crew. The gas-powered KAMAZ is the only truck of its kind that runs on natural gas, branded EcoGas by Gazprom. KAMAZ says the use of natural gas enables the vehicle to accelerate faster and reach maximum power at lower rpm, which is extremely helpful in the heavy sands of Africa.
The gas-powered KAMAZ is a sport truck based on the KAMAZ 4326. To obtain a better weight balance, the gas tanks are installed on the frame in the central part of the truck body. The vehicle was constructed in 2013 with support of PJSC Gazprom and VTB Bank. The project’s goal is to demonstrate the benefits of using natural gas as a vehicle fuel.
The use of natural gas as a vehicle fuel helps reduce toxic emissions substantially and cut fuel costs due to the low price of natural gas.
Gazprom Gazomotornoye Toplivo (Gazprom Gas Motor Fuel)’s mobile filling station provided the truck with fuel. Together with the technical support vehicles of the KAMAZ-Master team, the mobile filling station traveled the entire route, consistently refueling the truck at the finish line of each stage. With its engine operating in a combined gas and diesel cycle, the truck could cover 600–700 kilometers on a full fuel tank.
“The gas-fueled KAMAZ demonstrates that natural gas is a cost-effective, safe and environmentally friendly vehicle fuel,” said Sergey Kupriyanov, pilot of the gas-fueled KAMAZ.