Image make-over for driving on natural gas
All the world is talking about electromobility, and yet there has for some time been a good, environmentally-friendly and economic alternative to the classic internal combustion engine waiting in the wings. Vehicles powered by natural gas have been overlooked in Germany up to now – unjustifiably according to VW, which is now campaigning for compressed natural gas (CNG). Because at the moment only around 100,000 vehicles registered in Germany run on natural gas. In comparison: in Italy there are a million, in China it is even five million.
By 2025 the number of these vehicles in Germany is set to increase tenfold. The leader here is the Wolfsburg-based VW Group for whom – battered by the diesel scandal – the support for alternatives in cleaner drive technology has come at just the right time. The German government has recently announced an extension to the tax advantages for natural gas fuel – at least until 2026 CNG-powered vehicles will be particularly economic to run. This means that only around EUR 33 per annum will be payable on a VW Golf TGI model, and the purchase costs of gas-powered vehicles are also lower than the comparable diesel models. The price at the pump is cheaper by half.
More filling stations for CNG
With the Seat Mii, Ibiza and Leon, the Skoda Octavia, Audi A4 Avant and A5 Sportsback the parent company VW is bringing a number of CNG-powered models onto market within a very short time. “These cars are the best option for economic and ecological driving,“ stresses Jens Andersen, the VW group’s representative for the natural gas sector. Customers’ concerns at possibly being left high and dry with an empty tank are being countered by an initiative to expand the number of filling stations available. By 2025 there should be 2000 stations equipped with CNG. And moreover: if necessary it is also possible to equip standard CNG vehicles with an additional petrol tank.