Natural gas car: advantages and disadvantages of the alternative drive system

Almost everyone knows by now that cars with gasoline or diesel engines are being phased out. Meanwhile, alternatives to polluting fuels, such as gas-powered vehicles, are becoming increasingly popular. But what are the advantages and disadvantages of a natural gas car?? For whom does the purchase or conversion make sense, and what should be considered??

natural gas or liquefied petroleum gas?

When people talk about a gas-powered car, the first thing that comes to mind is the so-called "natural gas tank LPG (liquified petroleum gas), often also autogas called. However, this is only marginally related to the gas required for natural gas cars. To avoid misunderstandings, here is a brief explanation of the terms:

  • Liquid gas for motor vehicles is a mixture of the two gases propane and butane. both are by-products of petroleum and natural gas production and are liquefied under high pressure for storage. The LPG can then also be refueled in this form.
  • Natural gas consists largely (about 85 percent) of methane. The remainder is made up of nitrogen, carbon dioxide, ethane, propane and butane. Natural gas vehicles use compressed natural gas, which is known by the abbreviation CNG (compressed natural gas). The CNG is stored in the vehicle’s tank at an operating pressure of 200 bar.

Care is needed when refueling

natural gas cars cannot fill up with LPG, which is why you should not drive a gas car to a filling station that offers autogas. Conversely, you cannot refuel your autogas vehicle with CNG.

Tip: the price of autogas is shown per liter at gas stations – but for natural gas, it’s per kilogram. one kilo of natural gas contains more energy than one liter of LPG, that’s why natural gas is cheaper than autogas…

These are the advantages and disadvantages of a natural gas car that every consumer should know about

Of course, not all that glitters is gold. A natural gas car also has advantages and disadvantages. Compared to other sources of propulsion – above all, of course, diesel or gasoline – this alternative offers a lot of advantages advantages.
natural gas cars .

  • .. protecting the environment. Because natural gas burns very cleanly, there are virtually no emissions of nitrogen oxides or particulate matter. In addition, the carbon dioxide balance is more favorable than for gasoline or diesel vehicles.
  • .. are perceived as pleasant. natural gas cars score points not only in terms of exhaust emissions. In terms of noise, they also spare the ears of other road users thanks to their low noise emissions.
  • .. are good for the wallet. Natural gas will continue to be subsidized by the government until at least 2026. As a result, natural gas is much cheaper at filling stations than comparable fuels.
  • . Have a longer range. Because natural gas contains more energy than conventional fuels, significantly more kilometers can be driven per comparable distance and vehicle.
  • . Saving taxes. Vehicle tax is based on the pollutant class on the one hand, and on the engine capacity and CO2 emissions of a vehicle on the other. The latter in particular is extremely low for natural gas cars, which is why the vehicle tax can be up to 30 percent lower than for conventional cars.
  • . Luring with premiums. Many municipalities pay a subsidy or a fuel voucher for the purchase of a natural gas car.
  • . Help keep insurance premiums low. Many car insurance companies offer discounted rates for natural gas vehicles.
  • … the network of filling stations, which has just about 1.000 natural gas filling stations in germany is still rather patchy.
  • … the limited choice, since not every car manufacturer offers a natural gas-powered model.
  • … the reduced space, because a natural gas tank has a relatively high volume and thus reduces the loading area of the vehicle.
  • … the higher price, which with up to 4.000 euros above the purchase price of a comparable conventionally powered car. Depending on the model, there is also a charge of up to 5 percent for conversion.000 euros.

Are hybrids also available for the natural gas car??

Yes, they exist. These so-called bivalent vehicles have two tanks: one for natural gas, another for gasoline. During the journey, you can switch between the two types of drive using a switch on the cockpit. The bivalent natural gas cars are not subject to the monovalent vehicles compared to. These run almost exclusively on CNG, i.e. natural gas, and only have a small additional gasoline tank for absolute emergencies.

Of course, both variants of these natural gas cars have advantages and disadvantages

Bivalent natural gas cars are not necessarily dependent on finding a filling station with a CNG pump. On the other hand, the monovalent natural gas vehicles have a higher engine power and at the same time a lower fuel consumption.

Taking a good step with natural gas cars

If you’re thinking about buying a new car or converting your (not too old) vehicle, you can make a good move with natural gas – if you weigh up the pros and cons of a natural gas car. a new purchase or conversion is worthwhile especially for frequent drivers and for users with a high environmental awareness. However, there should be a natural gas filling station in your immediate vicinity, otherwise some of the advantages will be lost. In case of doubt, a bivalent natural gas car (hybrid) is more advisable.

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