Renault builds dedicated LPG engine
The new unit is not a monofuel one, i. e. it doesn't run on LPG only. Instead, it works like converted engines we know today – it starts in petrol mode and switches over to autogas once it warms up properly. The difference between present solutions and this one is that Renault's new powertrain has been modified for LPG since its very inception and so it's not a technologically aged engine quickly adapted to run on the cheaper fuel. Renault approached the matter holistically and used all sorts of modern automotive solutions on the engine, so the final product is packed with all the tech the industry has today.
So let's get into specifics: the three-cylinder engine, apart from being turbocharged, features start/stop technology, energy recovery during braking and an "eco” driving mode. All of this, obviously combined with LPG as fuel, is said to make cars equipped with the new unit Euro 6-compliant, with CO2 emissions down by 10% when compared to petrol-only counterparts. According to Renault, the engine needs by as much as 20% less fuel than previous (i. e. present) generation units. Surprisingly enough, though, running costs are supposed to drop only by 25%. Maybe in France, where the petrol-autogas price relation isn't quite as attractive as elsewhere.
As for the autogas system as such, apparently it has been designed in-house by the French brand. There were certain challenges to be addressed, like finding the right balance between turbo boost value and LPG pressure or optimising the engine so that it could run on LPG as much as possible (with as little petrol as could be), without involving the driver into the switchover process. Conversions will also be done in-house, on Renault factories' assembly lines, without setting up conversion centres or cooperating with outside subcontractors. So far Renault hasn't specified which models will benefit from the new solution, but if we were to guess, we'd bet on Clio, Mégane and Dacia line-up.
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