March 23, 2020. Natural gas vehicles are a well-known alternative for efficient and eco-friendly individual mobility and are popular in many European countries. Vehicles like the all-new Škoda Octavia G-TEC due to be released in the second half of 2020 and the already available G TEC versions of the Škoda Scala and Kamiq enable immediate CO2 savings of around 25 per cent compared to a conventional petrol engine, depending on the origin and production method of the gas used. Biomethane and synthetic gas can achieve up to 90-per-cent and full carbon neutrality respectively.
Cleaner combustion and a higher energy content than petrol and diesel are two of the key advantages of compressed natural gas (CNG). In addition, it can be topped up as easily and quickly as conventional fuels at suitably equipped filling stations. With the European network of CNG stations continually expanding, mid-2019 saw Italy in the lead in Europe with close to 1,300 filling stations, ahead of Germany with around 900. The Czech Republic came in third place, followed by Sweden and the Netherlands, all approaching the 200 mark.
The design of the new Škoda G-TEC versions of the Scala, the Kamiq and the all-new Octavia generation features larger CNG tanks, with the resulting greater ranges enabling drivers to cover even longer journeys using the more eco-friendly and economical CNG mode for the most part. Meanwhile, additional 9-litre petrol tanks safeguard mobility in regions without CNG filling stations.
In CNG mode, running on natural gas, these cars emit 25 per cent fewer CO2 emissions than vehicles powered by a conventional petrol engine. When adding a 20-per-cent share of bio-CNG, as is currently common in Germany, CO2 emissions are reduced by as much as 35 to 40 per cent. Using an even higher bio-CNG proportion made from plant residues and biological waste can achieve improvements of up to 90 per cent, approaching carbon neutrality. Full carbon neutrality can be achieved when running on synthetic methane produced from renewable energy using a power-to-gas process. However, this technology is currently still in development.
The all-new Škoda Octavia G-TEC due to be launched in the second half of 2020 has a 1.5-litre four-cylinder TSI engine delivering 96 kW (130 PS), which enables sprightly performance. Its three CNG tanks have a joint capacity of 17.3 kilograms, allowing for a range of up to 480 kilometers in CNG mode.