VW hopes natural-gas-powered models can match success of TDIs image

Volkswagen Ag., Europe’s largest carmaker has big ambitions: the automaker hopes that compressed natural gas vehicles can match the success of turbocharged diesel direct injection – TDI cars.

Basically VW plans to repeat what Audi did in 1989 when the automaker introduced the TDI -turbocharged diesel direct injection into mass production – an engine that quickly become an best-seller among the high-mileage drivers.

The Germans are introducing a the car’s consumption is 3.5 kg of natural gas per 100 km (equivalent to 94 g/km CO2).

The automaker is already offering some top-selling natural gas models in Europe, including the new Up! Citycar, Passat and Touran, but it ranks a distant second to Fiat in the niche – mostly because in Italy, almost 5 percent of all cars sold after five months used the fuel, JATO Dynamics reports.

Another important aspect is that natural gas vehicles are burning very efficiently – and emit 25 percent less CO2 into the atmosphere compared to a normal gasoline- or diesel-powered vehicle at identical performance.

In Europe, during the first five months of the year there were sold 36,618 CNG vehicles – up from 29,901 units during the same period of 2012. That translates into a market share of 0.7 percent, up from 0.5 percent in 2012.