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LPG
15.10.2012
Poland
Sector: LPG

A quarter on LPG

Diesel-gas technology is not just good for trucks. Despite lower potential savings, light duty diesel vans are converted to partially run on LPG, too. Our hero of the day is a 2006 Mercedes Vito converted in mid-2012, which has since covered a distance of over 27 thousand km. How much has it saved yet?
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A workshop does not have to house a car inside, it could well be inside a car!© GasCarA mobile diesel-gas conversion workshop inside the Vito

The car is used on an everyday basis by GasCar – a company from the city of Chojnice working in the diesel-to-autogas conversion business. Not only is the converted Vito a demonstration vehicle and a rolling showcase of the company's potential, but also it is a mobile diesel-gas conversion workshop. This is because normally it is heavy duty trucks and semi-truck trailers that get converted, so in order to save a customer's (most often a fleet operator's) time, GasCar's team of installers travel to where the to-be-converted vehicle is stationed and perform the entire operation on the spot, within just one day.

 

The cargo space of the Merc van has been furnished with all the equipment necessary to perform the conversion process. So what we see at the back are: a set of shelves, a tool cart, a welding machine, numerous power tools, an oscilloscope, a service laptop computer and other measuring tools. There is also a voltage inverter and some extra lighting. A spare wheel, conversion kits and large capacity tanks, complete with mounting brackets, fit in, too.

 

The Vito in question is motivated by a 109 PS, 2,2-litre CDI engine. It has been converted to partially run on LPG with a DegaMix system, comprising among other components I-PLUS gas injectors and a Fiore Forte reducer. The spare wheel has been replaced with a toroidal MoreMo autogas tank, capable of holding 36 l of LPG (45 l gross capacity, 600 mm diameter, 200 mm height). Autogas filling valve has been conveniently located under the diesel filler flap.

 

What has changed?

With a tool like this one, conversion can be conducted anywhere© GasCarA diesel-gas Mercedes Vito LPG as a mobile diesel-gas conversion workshop

Since the car was showcased at gazeo.pl's autogas zone stand during the 2012 Master Truck event, we took the opportunity to measure its power and torque on a dynamometer test bench. Just to remind: the car's nominal power is 109 PS. As the test revealed, its actual power (prior to any modifications) is by as much as 12 PS higher. Activating the LPG system resulted in achieving an astounding result of 146 PS! Together with the extra torque (324 instead of the original 282 Nm), it is responsible for the car's lower consumption and running cost, as the driver does not need to apply so much pressure to the accelerator pedal.

 

In the summer, at the moment of Vito's conversion, the odometer showed 96 thousand km of mileage. Over the first three months of driving, the car has been clocking 9 thousand km per month on average, which has amounted to 27 thousand km so far. Prior to conversion, the Vito's economy was 10 l of diesel per 100 km. Today, after fine tuning, fuel consumption is 6 l diesel + 3 l autogas per 100 km.

 

Costs and savings:

Driving over a 100 km distance on diesel only means spending 57,5 zlotys (approx. 14 euros), mixing diesel with LPG lowers the running cost to 42,72 zlotys (10,4 euros). Driving over a distance of 27 thousand km on diesel only would mean spending 15525 zlotys (3777 euros), on diesel and autogas – 11534 zlotys (2806 euros). Savings over a three-month period were thus 3991 zlotys (971 euros). In a year's time, the converted Vito's owner will then save a substantial sum of 15-16 thousand zlotys (3650-3900 euros). If that does not have economical sense, then what does?



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Wojciech Mackiewicz
source: Gascar



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