Mercedes E 200 NGT BlueEFFICIENCY dual fuel is match for higher oil prices

A recent post by NGV America says Mercedes-Benz is rolling out its new E 200 NGT BlueEFFICIENCY with bi-fuel natural gas drive to European sales partners this month, in parallel with its appearance at the Geneva Show.

While NGV America touts this as new news, fact is, a news release cited for this vehicle dates back to 2007. Furthermore, the release itself revealed the Mercedes-Benz E 200 NGT has been available since the spring of 2004.

No doubt, the NGV America is merely timing its post with high oil prices affecting gasoline and diesel.

Still, any dual-fuel technology is pertinent to the recent oil shock from Middle East and North African unrest.

For the record, the E 200 NGT (Natural Gas Technology) was developed at the Mercedes-Benz Technology Center on the platform of the E 200 KOMPRESSOR.

The four-cylinder supercharged “Kompressor” engine with an output of 120 kW (163 hp) has been modified with the addition of further injectors on the underside of the intake manifold and can run on either natural gas or unleaded premium-grade petrol.

The advantages of running on natural gas are obvious: a reduction of around 10 percent in fuel consumption, a more than 20 percent reduction in CO2 emissions and significantly cleaner emissions than comparable models with petrol engine only. Fact is, CO2 emissions will be down to 149 g /km in CNG mode.

Imperceptible to the vehicle’s occupants, an innovative engine management system ensures a smooth, jolt-free switch between fuel modes – even when the vehicle is moving.

A pressure regulator with sensor and electromagnetic shut-off valve is fitted near the engine to regulate the supply of natural gas and maintain the required system pressure at a constant level.

Along with the conventional petrol tank from the standard model, four gas cylinders are neatly concealed in the natural gas-powered vehicle. One is located behind the rear seat backrest and two underneath the floor of the boot. They have a total capacity of 121.5 liters of natural gas, corresponding to 19.5 kg.

One new piece of information is available, though. In a separate, undated news release on the Mercedes sight, the Norwegian company Ragasco, based in Raufoss, is reported to deliver environmentally friendly natural-gas composite containers for Mercedes-Benz private cars. The agreement will be worth approx. 100 million Norwegian kroner.

Yet, in another news release which appeared vague with regard to the end customer, Hexagon Composites ASA's business unit, Ragasco AS has been awarded a significant contract with a “large European car manufacturer” to supply fuel tanks for compressed natural gas (CNG) for one of their next generation passenger car vehicles. Ragasco was awarded the contract after the car manufacturer concluded an intensive technical and commercial benchmarking process. Start of production is planned for fourth quarter 2011.

Could this mean the start of new trend in automotive fuel delivery? And the very involvement by Mercedes portends this is a serious option. We can only hope this extends to the American continent which is rife with natural gas supplies.

Performance and Driving Range

The output and torque characteristics of the four-cylinder power unit are maintained even when it is running on natural gas. In conjunction with a five-speed automatic transmission, the E-Class Saloon accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h in 10.4 seconds, while its top speed is 224 km/h.

According to the news release, fuel consumption in petrol-driven mode has been reduced compared with the predecessor model by 1.2 liters to 8.1 liters per 100 kilometers (NEDC combined). In CNG operating mode, for example, consumption could be reduced by 0.6 kg per 100 kilometers to 5.5 kg – corresponding to CO2 emissions of 149 g per kilometer.

Regarding driving range, when running on natural gas, the car can be driven up to 360 kilometers. On the petrol side, its standard 59 l fuel tank gives it a petrol-driven range of around 730 kilometers. That amounts to a driving range in total to almost 1100 kilometers.

[This article compiled using information from a Daimler AG press release and the latest Hexagon/Ragasco press release.]

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About the Author: After 39 years in the auto industry as a design engineer, Frank Sherosky now trades stocks and writes articles, books and ebooks via authorfrank.com, but may be contacted here by email: [email protected]

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