1.6 liter CNG Turbo ecoFLEX with 110 kW/150 hp, only 129g/km CO2
530 kilometers CNG range with full seven seat configuration
Following the premier of the new Zafira Tourer at the 64th Frankfurt Motor Show (September 2011), Opel will add the new compressed natural gas (CNG) Zafira Tourer in January 2012. The new natural gas ecoFLEX version of the compact monocab will deliver what Opel describes as a best-in-class CNG range of up to 530 km – well beyond the 500 km mark. Like the previous model, the Zafira Tourer features Opel’s monovalentPlus system and has a 14 liter gasoline reserve, giving it an extra 150 km range.
The Zafira Tourer 1.6 CNG Turbo ecoFLEX has 110 kW/150 hp, 210 Nm of torque and reaches a top speed of 200 km/h. The vehicle only uses 4.7 kilograms (7.2 m3) of natural gas per 100 kilometers in the combined cycle which is at least 6% better than the previous Zafira CNG model. CO2 emissions were reduced to 129 g/km (predecessor: 139 g/km), thereby fulfilling the Euro 5 norm. However, the 1.6 liter engine can also run on biogas (biomethane) or a mixture of natural gas and biogas. In the case of 100% biogas propulsion, the carbon foot print is almost zero.
The extended CNG range of the seven-seat vehicle represents an improvement of around 25% on its predecessor. These enhancements have been mainly achieved with a new light weight (composite) gas tank system providing an increased CNG capacity of 25 kg (predecessor: 21 kg) and an optimization of the drivetrain. The use of this lightweight material resulted in a weight saving of 85 kilograms.
Another innovation that has further increased the driving range is the use of electronic pressure regulators rather than mechanical ones, as was used in the Zafira CNG predecessor model. The electronic regulators ensure that when the gas cylinders are almost empty, even small remaining reserves can be efficiently exploited. Opel says that in the seven seat configuration the Zafira Tourer CNG has a clear advantage over its competitors in terms of operating range.
Prices for the Zafira Tourer CNG version, which can already be ordered, start at EUR 27,950 euro (USD 37,300) , the recommended retail price in Germany, including VAT. CNG vehicles like the new Zafira Tourer offer significantly lower running costs than their gasoline counterparts. For example, in Germany CNG is 50% cheaper than gasoline.
Under the tried and tested concept the engine has been optimized to use CNG but the vehicle also holds a 14 liter auxiliary gasoline tank. When the CNG tanks are empty, the vehicle automatically starts utilizing the gasoline reserves.
On the engine side, the optimization includes several measures: as natural gas has an anti-knock resistance of up to 130 octane, compression can be increased, yielding greater efficiency. The increase in the compression ratio is also supported by a piston specially designed for use with natural gas. The cylinder-selective sequential injection, with an injection block and four injectors for natural gas and gasoline, also permits precision control of the injection timing and quantity. This reduces harmful emissions, leading in turn to especially clean exhaust gases.
Opel Zafira: the flagship CNG vehicle
Since launching its first CNG vehicle in 2001, Opel has sold more than 70,000 CNG powered vehicles throughout Europe, including the Zafira, the Astra Caravan and the Combo. More than two-thirds of total CNG sales are for the Zafira. This makes the Zafira the undisputed bestseller and flagship of Opel’s CNG offering. Opel has consistently been in the top three manufacturers in terms of total European sales in the CNG segment.
(This article compiled using information from an Opel press release)