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Sector: CNG

Lada dealers accepting Vesta CNG pre-orders

Lada dealers accepting Vesta CNG pre-orders © AvtoVAZ

Lada dealers in Russia have started accepting orders for a CNG-powered variant of the Vesta – the first true Lada to feature a factory compressed methane system ever. The CNG variant of the Largus debuted earlier, but it's just a badge-engineered Dacia...
Lada Vesta CNG© AvtoVAZFinally a Lada that doesn't look obsolete from day one! And running on a modern fuel, too...

In Russia, the Vesta CNG is priced from 601 thousand rubles (approx. 8800 euros), which is 30 thousand rubles (a reasonable 5% of the price) more than what Lada demands for a regular, petrol-only-powered equivalent. But that's not because CNG system components are so cheap. Instead, it's because conversions are subsidised – for each methane-powered car AvtoVAZ (the Vesta's manufacturer) and GK ATS (the officially approved converter of Vestas) receive 140 thousand rubles in subsidies from appropriate state agencies. This means the actual cost of conversion is 170 thousand rubles (slightly above 2600 euros), which is still quite affordable. One of the very first Vestas CNG ever manufactured was handed over to the Ministry of Energetics, which is deeply involved in promoting methane as motor fuel in Russia.

As for the car itself, it's a bi-fuel vehicle. The CNG system fitted on the Vesta is a product of BRC of Italy, while the composite fuel tank is of Chinese origin. It's gross capacity is 90 l and it can hold up to 18 m3 of compressed natural gas at 20 MPa. It's located right behind the rear bench seat. The petrol tank holds additional 55 l of fuel and so the car's combined range without refueling exceeds 1000 km, of which approx. 350-400 km is available in methane mode. The engine is a 1,6-litre unit, offering 96 PS and 135 Nm in CNG mode and 106 PS/148 Nm on petrol.

Lada Vesta CNG's dashboard© autoreview.ruEven though the conversion is officially approved, it looks like an aftermarket one, with the BRC fuel type switch clearly visible

As far as adoption of CNG as motor fuel in Russia is concerned, insufficient number of stations is the main issue hampering growth of the market. There are 300 publicly available outlets across the country (with another 60 coming soon), but given its vast territory that's still few and far between. For example, there are as few as 8 stations in Moscow and around it, with no prospects of expanding beyond 20 in the foreseeable future. However, Lada aims to sell Vestas mainly to taxi companies and state fleets, which means the cars won't need widespread refueling infrastructure. AvtoVAZ hopes to sell 600 vehicles by the end of 2017, with the number growing to 1200-2500 each consecutive year. The CNG variant of the Largus is expected to finally hit the market in 2018 and Gazprom's field maintenance services are looking forward to the debut of a CNG version of the timeless 4x4 (previously marketed as the Niva) SUV.


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Piotr Złoty
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