Austrian long-haul specialist Gerhard Plattner, a popular champion of economical driving, is also a champion for natural gas vehicles (NGVs). European vehicle manufacturer SEAT raised the question of how far can someone travel in a SEAT Leon TGI equipped with a 1.4 litre TGI engine and EUR 100 (USD 111). Plattner was up for the challenge.
Last Friday, Plattner launched a 2633 km Germany Eco-Tour: Berlin – Görlitz – Lindau – Aachen – Flensburg. Without expectation of breaking any records, he completed a round trip to Berlin, arriving back 19 May. At the start of the trip the bi-fuel vehicle had it’s gasoline tank sealed to validate the exercise.
The Leon had a built-in navigation system that, on request, displays CNG filling stations along the entire length. Currently, there are in Germany a total of about 920 natural gas filling stations. A Natural Gas App developed for smartphones provided refueling confidence. “Our app lists all the CNG filling stations in the Federal Republic with a variety of useful information such as current gas prices, opening times, payment options and biomethane share,” explains Dr. Timm Kehler, Managing Director of Erdgas Mobil GmbH. “A simple route planning and driving to the next least expensive natural gas filling station thus becomes child’s play,” adds Kehler.
According to SEAT, the Leon TGI typically consumes 3.5kg Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) per 100 km and produces just 92g/km CO2 per km. Plattner did better, setting a new record with an average consumption of only 2.94 kilograms per 100 kms, equivalent to 77.6 kg of natural gas at a cost of EUR 86.42 (USD 96.20): “We have actually managed to meet our objectives in terms of budget and consumption of natural gas.” He quipped thereafter that he had enough cash left out of his EUR 100 to go chase another record.