LPG Startbox - farewell to petrol
Rempel Power Systems, manufacturer of a small device called the LPG Startbox, claims it's perfectly possible and safe to start the engine directly on autogas. The Startbox looks pretty much like a small autogas system ECU, possibly one for simple and non-demanding 3- and 4-cylinder engines. However, it is actually an additional module, whose fitting under the bonnet of a previously converted car is supposed to take no more than 20-30 minutes. It gathers data from both the petrol and the LPG ECU, processes it with its two fast microchips and makes it possible to reduce the switchover time from petrol to autogas to as little as 0,5 s. Without it, it would usually be impossible, even if the engine had previously been warmed up.
According to the device's conceivers, starting a cold engine directly on LPG is no problem either to the engine or the catalyser. We wish we could take their word for granted, but the problem is that, first of all, a cold engine doesn't produce enough heat to warm the coolant required to vapourise LPG in the reducer and, second of all, right after cold start the dose of petrol is increased (automatic „choke” mode) and an attempt to replace it with an also increased dose of LPG could lead to choking the engine, because the mixture would be too rich (there would be no sufficient room for air). Besides, trying to vapourise autogas with cold coolant could result in the reducer's freezing over and, in the long run, limiting its durability. Anyhow, Rempel Power Systems representatives claim that the contraption works just fine if average ambient temperatures are at least 12° C or above. For North European markets they offer additional electric heaters.
According to the manufacturer, should the Startbox fail in any way, the autogas system just keeps working normally, as if the extra module was never there. The device is said to be compatible with all sequential vapour state LPG injection systems and helps further boost savings on petrol by as much as 1000 euros annually. We are intrigued, but seeing it work is believing.
- LPG and CNG cars
- Hybrids and EV's
- News and tips