Combining Compressed Natural gas (CNG) with a battery and electric motor can could result in an 80 miles per gallon car, reports MIT Technology Review, which has covered the work of senior scientist Christopher Onder and the research team at the Swiss Federal Institute. Onder says the new design could provide “a bridge to when electric vehicles are really affordable.”
The hybrid vehicle is estimated to have an incremental cost of approximately USD 8,000, far less than electric vehicle technology. At the same time, its performance exceeds the strict fuel economy standards imposed in Europe and the U.S.
The Zurich researchers modified a diesel engine to dual-fuel operation, with diesel representing a maximum of 10% of fuel consumed. As for all dual-fuel engines, the diesel is used to ensure the natural gas ignites properly. The high proportion of natural gas keeps emissions low.
Chris Onder is part of the CLEVER (CLean and Efficient VEhicle Research) team which is a common project of research partners Empa (Laboratory for Internal Combustion Engines), ETH Zürich (Institute for Dynamic Systems and Control) and ETH Zürich (Aerothermochemistry and Combustion Systems Laboratory) in cooperation with the industrial partners Volkswagen AG research and Robert Bosch GmbH.