The new Zafira 1.6 CNG Turbo has an output of 150 hp and a top speed of 200 km/h but consumes only 5.3 kg of natural gas per 100 km in the MVEG cycle, emitting just 144 g/km of CO2. That means 60 percent more horsepower for a difference of only 6 grams in emissions than the naturally aspirated model. The new Zafira 1.6 CNG Turbo will reach markets starting in January 2009.
On average, the cost of driving 100 kilometers with a CNG vehicle is roughly 50 percent lower than a comparable car running on petrol. The cost of driving CNG will also remain inexpensive in the long-run, compared with other fuels because many European governments are committed to further promote CNG vehicles through tax support systems.
In 2001 Opel pioneered the CNG propulsion with the innovative monovalentplus technology, in which the motor is optimized to primarily operate on natural gas, but could also run on gasoline. The Zafira CNG Turbo 1.6-liter engine is designed to run on either natural gas, bio-methane or any mixture of the two. The unit is provided with special pistons, valves and valve seats, plus separate injection systems for natural gas and gasoline. In gas mode alone, the vehicle can drive up to 370 km, while the 14-liter reserve gasoline tank provides an additional range of 150 km for maximum flexibility. A maximum torque of 210 Nm at only 2.300 rpm will ensure plenty of power in all situations.
CNG is one of many alternative propulsion strategies being pursued by Opel and its parent company General Motors as part of a wider move to reduce CO2 emissions and diversify world fuel supplies.
At present, Opel’s CNG model range includes the Zafira 1.6 CNG ecoFLEX with 94 hp and the Combo 1.6 CNG ecoFLEX also with 94 hp. In Italy, the largest single market for CNG vehicles, an especially high number of Zafira CNGs are on the road. In 2007 alone, more than 6,600 units of the CNG compact vans were sold there.