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Economical dual-fuel TSI concept from Volkswagen

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March 4, 2008

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March 5, 2008 In the quest for making the internal combustion engine go further on less fuel, we’ve seen many different combinations of normal and forced aspiration and alternative fuels, but this is a new take on combining the seemingly contradictory virtues of performance and economy. Volkswagen showed a new concept car in Geneva a few hours ago that uses both natural gas and petrol. That’s not new, but it’s the first time it has been combined with the VW TSI engine which uses both a supercharger and a turbocharger operating sequentially to provide high power (150 bhp), great economy, exceptional range and meet Euro 5 emission standards from a small capacity (1.4 liter) engine.

With a top speed of 130 mph and the capability to accelerate from 0 to 62 mph in 9.7 seconds, the Passat Estate TSI EcoFuel remains viable for everyday use and in most driving conditions the vehicle consumes 5.2 kg of natural gas every 100 km.

In order to allow the engine to cope with the additional loading encountered through the burning of natural gas rather than gasoline, significant changes have been made to the valves, piston rings and the pistons and a smaller turbocharger is used. The whole lot is orchestrated by a new engine management computer controlling everything the engine does, including orchestrating a seamless switch between fuels.

The natural gas is stored in a trio of tanks with a combined capacity of 22 kg mounted beneath the boot floor. This is supplemented by a 31-litre tank for conventional petrol. Between the two tanks the Passat Estate TSI EcoFuel is afforded a theoretical range of over 490 miles.

They’re calling it a concept, but in a bullish move, have announced the vehicle will be introduced in mainland Europe in both saloon and estate bodystyles before the end of the year.

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About the Author
Mike Hanlon Mike grew up thinking he would become a mathematician, accidentally started motorcycle racing, got a job writing road tests for a motorcycle magazine while at university, and became a writer. As a travelling photojournalist during his early career, his work was published in a dozen languages across 20+ countries. He went on to edit or manage over 50 print publications, with target audiences ranging from pensioners to plumbers, many different sports, many car and motorcycle magazines, with many more in the fields of communication - narrow subject magazines on topics such as advertising, marketing, visual communications, design, presentation and direct marketing. Then came the internet and Mike managed internet projects for Australia's largest multimedia company, Telstra.com.au (Australia's largest Telco), Seek.com.au (Australia's largest employment site), top100.com.au, hitwise.com, and a dozen other internet start-ups before founding Gizmag in 2002. Now he writes and thinks. All articles by Mike Hanlon
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