First four wheel drive NGV?
Automotive media outlets in Sweden are reporting a new compressed natural gas (CNG) bi-fuel Subaru Legacy will be launched in Sweden shortly, with models on the floor by April 2010. The reports say the move is a response to the growing popularity of natural gas vehicles in the company car segment, in particular the VW Passat Turbo which is proving to be a driveaway success in Sweden. More than 2400 units of the CNG Passat have been sold, with 562 of those sold in August alone which, in the words of one motoring journalist, “suggests that we have only seen the beginning of the success story.” Subaru is proving to be a quiet achiever in Sweden, reportedly increasing sales in the first half of this year despite a downturn in overall vehicle sales.
The 2010 Legacy premiered earlier this month in Sweden in both diesel and petrol models. The bi-fuel model will reportedly be based on the Subaru four-cylinder gasoline boxer engine of 2.5 liters, which provides 167 horsepower with gasoline. Although details have yet to be formally released by Subaru, the gas-powered version of the Legacy is said to be offered with Subaru’s newly developed Linaertronic stepless automatic transmission.
It’s unknown yet what the format of CNG storage will be for the bi-fuel Legacy but with a 15% increase in luggage capacity in the 2010 model, indications are that space won’t be a problem.
Subaru has had a minimal presence with natural gas vehicles to date, launching the occasional prototype and a limited release of a CNG Legacy B4 in 2002 in Japan. Subaru’s parent company in Japan, Fuji Heavy Industries Co, also included increased use of natural gas vehicles during the 2007-2011 timeframe as part of a Voluntary Environmental Plan.
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