Compressed natural gas has many advantages as a fuel for cars, says Audi’s chief

Audi boss Rupert Stadler has added his voice to the defence of diesel as a road car fuel — but also urged rule makers to give more consideration to cars powered by natural gas.

Talking in response to growing governmental, legislative and academic pressure to restrict and even ban diesel use, especially in built-up areas, Stadler said: “Diesel is a key technology yet the value of it as a fuel is no longer recognised.

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“I’d prefer to see its value through the eyes of the customer, who gets good torque, range and fuel consumption. These values should be respected, especially when we know that, for the next 10-15 years, 70-80% of the market will be diesel, petrol or mild hybrid. Even the most positive expectation is 30% pure electric.

“We are investing heavily in battery technology, but we should never forget that most mileage will be covered for a long time by vehicles with internal combustion engines. We need to have the best options for those, and restricting choice will not help.”

In some markets, Audi sells gas-powered cars under the g-tron banner, with the A3 g-tron leading sales and costing just over £21,000. It is powered by CNG (compressed natural gas) and so-called Audi e-gas, which is produced via a low-CO2 system that uses a process of electrolysis and methanation to split oxygen and hydrogen before using CO2 to produce synthetic methane. However, the cars have proved to be relatively slow sellers to date.

“I’m a big supporter of CNG,” said Stadler. “It’s very clean, can be stored everywhere, you get a long range and you can refuel in two to three minutes. The trouble is it has an image problem, but I’m convinced of its advantages. The strategy is right, but we need industrial partners to make it work on a wider level.”

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Comments
9

10 May 2017
The VW group are further behind the EV tech than I thought, and, they've now got less money to play catch up!

 

Hydrogen cars just went POP

10 May 2017
Somehow after all the lies that they have been spoon feeding us over the benefits of diesel, I find it very difficult to believe a word that comes out of this greedy bunch. Time has come for Audi to stop straddling their legs wide open over diesel and other fossil fuels. With their supposedly largest research and development budget they could have built decent hybrid systems a decade ago if they perceived any need to come clean. This month's diesel sales figures have probably given VW bosses a good reason to stop backing the dead horse and their response is to talk up another fossil fuel.

10 May 2017
In possibly surprising news, most car makers sell diesels and show no signs of ceasing to do so. In also possibly surprising news and despite all you hear on the subject, VW group diesels are no worse than other makes when it comes to real world emissions yet you don't hear people complaining about Renault, Vauxhall/Opel and the rest which manage to produce many times the official NOx limits without being accused of "cheating".

10 May 2017
"In possibly surprising news, most car makers sell diesels and show no signs of ceasing to do so." Maybe no ceasing altogher but the percentage will drop. Suzuki dropped the diesel from the new Swift and the New Civic won't get a diesel engine till at least Christmas, 2 years ago Autocar would have had a heart attack if a new C segment car was released without a diesel option.

 

Hydrogen cars just went POP

10 May 2017
Yeah, you also dont hear about the dirty side of petrols either, you could be forgiven for thinking that they emit nothing more than pure air from their tailpipes the way some not very knowledgeable people talk.

10 May 2017
People forget about ships, rail and HGV in this debate, you have to look at the bigger picture and while I agree that for many who just commute into the city a petrol may be the more sensible choice we have to be realistic about the benefits that diesel technology provides. Credit where credit is due I say to the manufactures if it can also be done more cleanly using new technology including CNG.

 Offence can only be taken not given- so give it back!

10 May 2017
Diesels can run on gas, or at least partially, what better way to sort out the current emissions problems than to convert them to run on gas ?

10 May 2017
Not certain if synthetic methane is different from natural methane however am a bit surprised as methane is even more of a greenhouse gas than Co2.

12 May 2017
LPG seems to have gone out of favour despite the low price and good availability. However, it seems ironic given an article I read today about pollution and diesel engines in London - diesel accounts for 11% of the problem but the biggest culprit is... domestic gas boilers, etc. I can't wait for the government to offer scrappage on gas boilers for replacing with electric....

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