FALCON ECO LPi CHEAPER TO FUEL THAN MANY SMALL CARS
Recent data on motor vehicle running costs released by the Commonwealth Government has reinforced the low-cost credentials of LPG-fuelled vehicles, according to Australian engine developer Orbital Corporation.
Official government figures show the average fuel cost of a Ford Falcon factory-fitted with an Orbital-supplied liquid-phase injection (LPi) LPG system is as little as $8.60 per 100km - compared with $14 for a conventional unleaded petrol model of the same size.
According to the government data, the family-sized Falcon EcoLPi is also cheaper to fuel than several petrol-powered small cars - despite being much larger in size.
Orbital Corporation CEO Terry Stinson says the figures show that motorists do not need to compromise the size of their cars to save money on fuel.
"Australians have always loved their full-size six-cylinder and V8-powered cars and utes for their space, versatility and driveability. The continued high cost of petrol has seen many Australians make the switch to smaller cars believing they will be cheaper to run long term," he said.
Many Australian drivers may not realise that LPG is selling for about half the price (per litre) of unleaded petrol.
"Combined with more efficient LPG injection technology and a new range of spare tyre options that no longer reduce boot space, drivers can continue to enjoy the virtues of a large car along with the fuel costs of a much smaller one," he said.
Mr Stinson says the cost of running a larger LPG-fuelled car or ute could be within a few dollars of many small European petrol and diesel models - which are often not suited to the needs of fleet customers.
"Recent advances in LPG technology provide an exciting opportunity for local Australian automotive manufacturers to compete with imports - which currently represent 86% of all new vehicles sold," he said.
"Given Australia's long distances and the need to carry decent loads, smaller diesel cars don't always meet a user's needs.
"LPG-powered cars represent much better value for money when you factor in their interior space and ability to tow a trailer - which is important to many Australian families and fleet operators," he said.
LPG is a cleaner energy source than either unleaded petrol or diesel, emitting up to 14 per cent less CO2 per litre of fuel consumed, depending on the vehicle.
To encourage motorists to switch to the cleaner fuel, the Commonwealth Government offers rebates of $1250 toward an LPG conversion of a previously registered vehicle, or $2000 toward the cost of a brand-new LPG car.
"When purchasing a new Falcon EcoLPi, the payback period can be as little as six months, depending on usage," Mr Stinson said.
"With LPG also being the most readily and widely available alternative fuel in Australia, there are compelling practical, financial and environmental reasons to make the switch."
In addition to supplying Ford Australia's Falcon EcoLPi system, Orbital is the original equipment supplier of LPi technology to Holden Special Vehicles' V8 models.
Orbital's specialist LPG division, Orbital Autogas Systems, sells a range of aftermarket LPi engine conversions for Ford, Holden, Mitsubishi, Toyota and other marques - all using the same type of liquid-phase injection technology as Falcon EcoLPi.
The technology, developed by Orbital's advanced engine labs in Perth, achieves petrol-equivalent power and torque by injecting LPG into the engine's inlet manifold as a liquid rather than a gas.
Orbital is well known for its work with alternative fuel supply systems, having pioneered the use of direct fuel injection in the 1980s. Today this work includes a wide range of gaseous and liquid fuel, including CNG, LNG and ethanol.