While some folks are successfully mixing gasoline and electric engines, VW thought, "why not mix natural gas and gasoline?" That's what they're planning on doing with the EcoFuel VW Touran.
Unfortunately, natural gas isn't on the path toward carbon neutrality...but it is certainly better than the alternative. Natural gas is a much cleaner fuel than gasoline, and the majority of the U.S. demand is satisfied by production on this continent. You can also fill up using the natural gas line at your home (without having to pay a road tax.)
But the even more fascinating thing to me about this is that, when running on gasoline (it can do either, to eliminate that pesky "range anxiety" factor) it gets 45 MPG. This is an extremely impressive number for a minivan, and they're doing it with some fancy technology.
First, they start out with a fairly tiny 1.4 L engine, then add direct injection technology and a turbo-charger (so that acceleration times aren't too dismal) and suddenly they're squeezing a lot of power out of every drop of gas.
Of course, there are no plans to sell the car in North America, and we haven't seen a release date or a price (which we expect to be very high) but it's exciting nonetheless.
written by Hank, May 11, 2009
written by Fred, July 15, 2009
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