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LPG Golf eyed for Australia

Miser: The Golf BiFuel is cheap to run on LPG.

VW Australia considers LPG Golf that could cut fuel costs by half

11 Feb 2009

VOLKSWAGEN Australia is considering introducing an LPG Golf that could halve fuel costs.

The factory fitted dual-fuel system, which promises CO2 emission reductions of 10 per cent, was revealed at the Bologna Motor Show last December.

At this stage the Golf BiFuel is only available in left-hand drive, but Volkswagen Australia is now considering requesting the car also be produced in right-hand drive.

Volkswagen Australia managing director Jutta Dierks told GoAuto the company would look at the LPG option in response to the Rudd government's position on the fuel.

The federal government announced a $10.5 million boost for LPG as part of its green car innovation fund. It has raised the existing $1000 grant for customers purchasing new vehicles sold with LPG systems to $2000, matching the grant available for used vehicles to be converted to LPG.

"If the government pushes in that direction it would be silly not to look at it," Ms Dierks said.

3 center imageShe cautioned that no decision had been made about whether VW Australia would take the car.

"It is early days, we have to find out more about it," she said.

Ms Dierks said that while the business case for the Golf BiFuel was yet to be tested, the fact that it could be available was positive.

"It is nice to have an alternative," she said.

The dual-fuel Golf could be a valuable asset if petrol and diesel prices soar again.

The Golf BiFuel runs a 1.6-litre four-cylinder engine on either petrol or LPG.

When fed with LPG, this engine produces 76kW with a fuel economy figure of 9.2 litres per 100km compared with 7L/100km when it is running on petrol.

Based on fuel prices at the time of writing, the Golf BiFuel would cover 100km for $8.25 on petrol and just $3.39 on LPG.

The dual-fuel system uses a 41-litre tank stored in the spare wheel recess in the boot.

Volkswagen says the LPG component extends the range of the Golf BiFuel by 420km for a total of 1100km.

It says the factory fitted dual-fuel system has been extensively crash tested and is safer than after market systems.

Volkswagen has not disclosed the details of the LPG componentry, including details of the injection system, nor explained how it would get around the absence of a spare tyre.

The BiFuel system has been introduced for the new Golf VI range which is due to go on sale in Australia at the end of this month.

The news Volkswagen is considering the Golf BiFuel for Australia comes as Holden develops a single-fuel LPG Commodore and HSV considers whether it should press ahead with an LPG dual-fuel system for its high-performance ClubSport V8.

Volkswagen also announced last week that it had signed a letter of intent with Japanese electronics giant Toshiba Corporation to develop electric drive units and accompanying power electronics for VW’s forthcoming small-car family.

The two companies are also planning the development of battery systems “with a high specific energy density for the next generation of electric vehicles”.

“Volkswagen is forging ahead with the development of future drive technologies in many different areas,” said Volkswagen AG chairman Martin Winterkorn. “In order to further strengthen our position, Volkswagen is investing in the long term and is offering co-operation projects to other companies. One of the important components in this context is the cooperation with Toshiba.

“I am convinced that this will be a major step forward towards the development of series production electric vehicles for our customers.

“A considerable amount of research and development work still has to be carried out until we can produce the electric vehicle, in the field of lithium-ion battery technology in particular, and this is an area in which the Volkswagen Group is working with further potential technological partners alongside Toshiba.”

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