The Nordic arm of Japanese carmaker Subaru is considering supplying natural gas vehicles in Sweden, possibly using a vacant Saab Automobile facility in western Sweden’s Trollhättan for zero kilometre conversions, reports The Local. NGV Global News has received confirmation from Subaru Nordic communications and PR director Thomas Possling the plans involve converting its midsize Legacy and crossover Outback models to run on compressed natural gas (CNG).
“It is very likely that we will finally decide to start production in Sweden. If and when we start, Trollhättan is one of the locations for a possible factory,” Possling said, indicating that a decision would be made before the northern summer. “We are currently doing emission tests and have some evaluation and certifications left [to complete]”, he added.
If the decision is affirmative, production is expected to get underway very quickly, using rented Saab production premises. Saab has no involvement other than for lease arrangements.
Subaru Nordic is working with Italian firm BRC Gas Equipment, and the subcontractors for the components are already in place, Possling confirmed.
The models, which are manufactured in Japan, would be shipped to Sweden for conversion. Production will focus on the Swedish market initially, where Subaru Nordic is confident interest exists for at least 2,000 cars. Possling said Subaru will look into export opportunities in the future, in Finland, Germany and Italy as well as other countries supporting alternative-fuel vehicles.
So far, Subaru has produced five test prototype models in Sweden and is carrying out testing in Italy with BRC.
Possling confirmed this is the company’s first foray into CNG vehicles, as well as the world’s first Boxer CNG engine and first all-wheel drive CNG vehicle.