German environmental research institute ÖkoTrend has published its annual ranking of the greenest vehicles available in Europe. Natural gas vehicles, including models from Mercedes-Benz, Opel and Volkswagen, feature amongst the list of top-placed environmental performers. Specialist journal Auto TEST has therefore honoured these cars with the title of “Auto TEST Winner in Green! 2013”.
First place in the Compact MPV section went to the Mercedes-Benz B 200 Natural Gas Drive. The B 200 Natural Gas Drive operates as a general rule on natural gas, while retaining a small, 12‑litre petrol tank on board to cope with any emergencies. Should the natural gas tank at any point run empty, the vehicle will switch automatically and imperceptibly to run on petrol.
Thanks to its natural gas drive system, the CO2 emissions of the 115 kW (156 hp) engine in the B 200 Natural Gas Drive have been reduced by more than 16 percent; its exhaust gas emissions are significantly cleaner than those of a vehicle running on petrol or diesel Fuel costs are around 50 percent lower than for the equivalent petrol-engine model.
Because the driver is not able to actively select the petrol operating mode, the B 200 natural Gas Drive is certified as a natural gas vehicle and thus able to benefit from tax incentives. The range of the vehicle in natural gas operating mode is around 500 kilometres.
First place in the Van section went to the Opel Zafira Tourer 1.6 CNG Turbo ecoFLEX. The natural gas range of the Zafira Tourer is 530 kilometers – made possible by high-tech tanks made from carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP) with 25 kilograms of natural gas capacity. The 14.4-liter reserve gasoline tank of the monovalent plus system provides additional scope.
The gas turbine engine produces 110 kW/150 hp, maximum torque is 210 Nm and it consumes only 4.7 kg in the combined cycle (7.2 m3 ) of natural gas per 100 kilometers. CO2 emissions from the Euro-5 engine at 129 g/km. When using 100 percent biomethane (renewable natural gas) the Zafira Tourer CNG CO2 emissions are close to neutral.
Describing the brand as a pioneer in environmentally friendly cars with CNG natural gas (compressed natural gas), Frank Leibold, Sales and Marketing Manager OSV says, “The Zafira Tourer is the undisputed bestseller and flagship of our CNG fleet.”
First place in the Microcar section went to the VW eco up! The natural gas range of the eco up! is approximately 600 kms. CO2 emissions from the three-cylinder 50 kW (68 hp) Euro-5 engine is 79 g/km.
The VW eco up! has already won four environmental awards including the title of “Overall Winner” in VCD Car Environment List 2012.
First place in the Upper Middle Class section went to the VW Passat 1.4 TSI EcoFuel. Its bivalent 1.4 TSI engine with 110 kW / 150 PS can be powered with either natural gas or petrol; it delivers low fuel consumption values and low CO2 emissions of 117 g/km.
Early December the Passat TSI EcoFuel was recently recognised by Swedish organisation Gröna Bilister (Green Motorists): “We think Volkswagen is well worth this special rate. Winning the Best Environmental Car four years in a row is something that no manufacturer previously succeeded. And the question is whether anyone will do that again, ” said Jacob Lagercrantz, president of Gröna Bilister, in connection with the presentation.
At the Gröna Bilister event, VW hinted at the possibilities of broadening its natural gas range.
In January 2012, Germany’s ADAC (Allgemeiner Deutscher Automobil-Club e.V.) declared the natural gas powered VW Passat TWI EcoFuel a “Yellow Angel” in the Car of the Future Category.
The independent research institute “ÖkoTrend” has been analysing and evaluating products according to ecological criteria and in terms of the social and environmental responsibility of their manufacturers since 1995. The environmental credentials of a broad range of cars are assessed in twelve different categories on the basis of extensive data accumulated by the Institute. The categories include fuel consumption, pollutant emissions, manufacturing, logistics, recycling and the environmental management system operated by the manufacturer.