German automobile club ADAC (Allgemeiner Deutscher Automobil-Club e.V.) has taken a year long look at the Skoda Octavia G-Tec. After 50,000 kms of monitored driving, ADAC has determined that natural gas vehicle technology has developed to the point where there are hardly any restrictions. As such, the club says they are a worthy alternative for people who are dissatisfied with diesel.
“Natural gas is simple – and cheap,” states ADAC report author Author Jochen Wieler. “Electric cars are still out of the question for many, as costs and range are still not satisfying. This is different for natural gas vehicles.”
The 110 hp Octavia had sufficient speed, could refill for just EUR 16 (USD 19) and was tested to a top speed of 193 km/h. While not high performance, the report says that for natural gas users, a low fuel consumption is more important. With a speedy drive and a lot of motorway kilometres, the vehicle averaged 4.2 kg of natural gas (CNG) per 100 km.
100 kilometers cost just EUR 4.40 (USD 5.22), a figure that cannot be match by the diesel Octavia whose cost balance is also worse overall. This will continue until at least 2026, during which time natural gas is tax-favoured as fuel.
ADAC points out the ecological advantages of a natural gas car. CO2 emissions are reduced by about 20% compared to gasoline and 10% for diesel. With biogas (renewable natural gas), which feed many municipalities, the balance is even greener. CNG is also good for all other pollutants: there is no fine dust or nitric oxide problem. As such, the Skoda Octavia G-tec achieved the full five stars in ADAC EcoTest.
The car is designed with bi-fuel capability to enable fuel switching when a natural gas station is not available. There are more than 900 filling stations across Germany, not evenly distributed, but current projections are for 2,000 stations by 2025. During field testing over the 50,000 kilometres, only seven gasoline refills were required (352 litres) compared to 2134 kilos of natural gas.
NGV Models in Germany
ADAC lists NGVs currently available in Germany:All natural gas models at a glance:
Audi: A3, A4, A5
Fiat: Panda, Punto, Qubo, Fiorino, Doblo, 500L, Ducato
Mercedes: B-Class, Sprinter
Opel: Combo, Zafira
Seat: Mii, Ibiza (late 2017), Leon
Skoda: Citigo, Octavia
VW: Up, Polo (2018), Golf, Caddy
Soon to be added to this list is the Opel Astra.