Range Anxiety with Autogas?
In order to demonstrate the possible maximum range achievable and to counter range anxiety with Autogas, Prof Heinze of the HTW Saarland University of Applied Sciences had proposed a project in which a standard factory vehicle would be enabled to travel more than 1.000 km on a single fuel tank, without the vehicle being transformed to become fuel tanker. The project S1000+ was initiated over four years ago and was scheduled to modify an existing vehicle by installing a larger LP Gas tank and an custom Autogas system, optimised for engine efficiency.
The car’s structure was adapted slightly in the process to accomodate the larger Autogas tank with a net volume of 120 litres. The original gasoline tank was deleted in favour of more range under LP Gas. Special injectors injecting LP Gas in the liquid phase were coupled to dedicated engine controls. This mimics the exact configuration used for petrol cars. This range of older Deka II injectors is (still) manufactured by Continental and has formed the foundation of the different liquid phase injecting retrofit systems that have become available over the years.
The car’s special control system was the core of the develpment clearly showing the potential older port fuel injected engines have. This potential is still not being unlocked as it is out of the reach of simple conversions with a master-slave systems. A dedicated development for port fuel injection shows promise as even today not all vehicles sold on the market are manufactured with a cutting edge, direct injected engine.
Achieving the goal of breaking the magical number of 1000 km on a single fuel tank was not a problem. the team succeeded in doing so almost two years ago. The drivers were greeted at a reception after having covered 1030 km, the seal on the fuel door still intact. fuelled LP Gas cars can be built with sufficient range to meet modern day driver needs. They can also be operated without worrying not to find an adequate refuelling opportunity. The team was eager to ford the full potential of the setup under normal driving conditions. With an average consumption of only 8.8 l/100 km (11.3 km/l or 26.7 mpg) a total distance of over 1365 km was covered on the roads before fuel finally ran out.
Range anxiety, so often associated with alternative fuels, is not an issue! With the dense networks of Autogas fuel stations across Europe even drivers of converted cars with considerably shorter ranges don’t need to refuel gasoline regularly.