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Holden joins LPG rush with VE offerings

What a gas: Holden’s Alloytec dual-fuel V6.

Advanced gas injection system headlines Holden's new dual-fuel VE Commodore

24 Oct 2006

HOLDEN has added a dual-fuel Alloytec 3.6-litre V6 engine to its VE Commodore line-up.

Available on the Omega, Berlina and Commodore V-Series special edition models, the dual-fuel option is $3900 and delivers what Holden calls a "seamless" transition from petrol to LPG while driving, with a small power difference.

Private buyers are also able to take advantage of the full $2000 Federal Government rebate on LPG conversions because the fitting is done post-vehicle production at HSVi, in Clayton.

The dual-fuel range also extends to the VZ Commodore Executive wagon, Acclaim wagon and ute.

LPG powered VE sedans deliver peak power of 175kW at 6000rpm (petrol 180kW at 6000rpm) and peak torque is 325Nm at 2600rpm (petrol 330Nm at 2600 rpm).

The compares to the E-Gas Ford Falcon’s output of 156kW at 5000rpm and 370Nm at 2750rpm.

However, Ford is believed to be working on a higher-performance E-Gas engine.

Holden’s LPG unit is an advanced sequential vapour gas injection (SVGI) system that injects gas directly into the engine, mimicking the petrol injection sequence.

It has automatic changeover to LPG is via seamless cylinder-by-cylinder activation and provides an automatic change back to petrol at low LPG levels.

The LPG filling pip is also housed in the same area as the petrol filler.

Holden’s executive director, engineering, Tony Hyde, said the dual-fuel option gave customers an economical choice to petrol, without sacrificing performance.

It also meant that unlike dedicated LPG cars like the Falcon, owners could switch to petrol in remote rural areas where LPG outlets are limited.

Recent petrol price volatility and a $2000 Federal Government rebate for LPG-fitted vehicles has sparked keen interest in the alternative fuel.

However, LPG, currently free of excise, will be subject to a 2.5c excise from July 1, 2008, rising to 12.5c a litre from July 1, 2012.

Retail petrol prices have doubled since the VT Commodore was launched in 1998 while LPG is still more than 50 per cent less a litre than petrol.

13 center imageAbout 25 per cent of Falcons are no dedicated LPG units but Holden’s ace is its dual fuel operation, despite the LPG tank adding 100kg in weight and the Commodores requiring beefier rear suspension settings to cope with the extra weight.

"Dual-fuel engines provide a tremendous range and can significantly reduce running costs," Mr Hyde said.

"A dual-fuel VE sedan range can be more than 1100km and if customers travel around 30,000kms annually, running on LPG can save more than $1000 a year depending on fuel prices and driving style.

"The option of two tanks also offers the flexibility to run on LPG and fill up with petrol when the driver chooses – or to run on petrol should LPG be unavailable."Mr Hyde said the rebate was also a strong incentive for private buyers.

LPG fuel economy on dual-fuel Omega and Berlina models is 16.0L/100km while the petrol only engine is 11.7L/100km.

The increased petrol usage in dual-fuel models (VE petrol only Omega and Berlina models return 10.9L/100km) is due to added weight of a 100kg gas cylinder.

In VE sedans, a 73 litre cylindrical LPG tank is located in the boot. The 73 litre petrol tank remains unchanged.

However, because of the LPG tank’s position above the rear axle, the load-through facility is rendered unusable.

LPG Australia estimates that there are more than 500,000 LPG fuelled vehicles on Australian roads.

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