Geely has been testing a methanol-powered hybrid car in northern China.

Geely’s ‘Methanol Hybrid Emgrand’ is based on Geely Auto’s fourth generation B-Segment Modular Architecture (BMA) Emgrand sedan and can use ‘100% clean methanol’ available in fuelling stations in China.

Geely says the new model is the latest product to from Geely’s decade-long 3 billion RMB investment into methanol vehicle development.

The company acknowledges that previous generation methanol vehicles faced difficulties with cold starts but with Geely Auto’s ‘NordThor Power’ (previously called Leishen Power) hybrid technology and the latest generation methanol powertrains, it says issues with extreme cold environment performance have been eliminated.

Geely claims the Methanol Hybrid Emgrand has low operating costs and ultra-low emissions.

The sedan houses a 1.8L naturally aspirated methanol engine providing 97kW (130HP) of power and 175 N·m of max torque together with an electric motor providing 100kW (134HP) of power and 320 N·m for a combined 272kW (364HP) and 495 N·m of torque. The engine and e-motor are connected to a 3-speed Dedicated Hybrid Transmission (DHT) which provides increased efficiency at low speeds by propelling the vehicle with pure electric power, ensures smooth cruising by utilizing the engine as a range-extender with e-motor powering the wheels, and provides bursts of power for high-speed overtakes with a transmission gear ratio that provides up to 4920N·m of output torque.

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Acting as a range extender at lower speeds and only sending power to the wheels at high speeds allows the 1.8L methanol engine to operate at peak efficiency and lower emissions, Geely says.

With methanol fuel price at Chinese pumps around 3RMB/L (0.42EUR/L or 1.8USD/Gallon), fuel costs per 100km is roughly 27RMB (3.85 Euros or 4.28USD). In the face of rising global gas prices, methanol fuel offers a viable cleaner affordable alternative, Geely claims.

Eric Li, Chairman of Geely Holding Group said: “Clean methanol from green and renewable sources is the most realistic and effective path to reducing emissions and achieving carbon neutrality. The advantages of methanol fuel are not theoretical and have been proven for decades in applications around the world. Methanol fuel choices offer the world a road to a greener and more sustainable future.”

Geely Holding Group says it is the largest developer and producer of methanol vehicles in the world. The group’s subsidiary brands have produced the Geely Auto Emgrand methanol sedan whilst Geely Commercial Vehicles have produced the Farizon M100 heavy truck, which have both passed “China VI” emissions standards.

The company says that from well to wheel, Geely’s methanol vehicles allows for a 70% reduction in CO2 emissions compared to gasoline models. Previous demonstration trials of non-hybrid Geely Emgrand methanol sedans in Iceland achieved an average well to wheel emissions of 46g of CO2 per km, even lower than electric vehicles in most countries. In the future, Geely Holding methanol vehicles will undergo EU certification and be promoted to other European markets in support of accelerating the goal of reaching carbon neutrality.

Geely Holding has invested over 3 billion RMB in developing methanol vehicles and green methanol technologies over the past 17 years. The company has launched more than 20 methanol vehicles and obtained 256 patents for methanol technologies, it says.

In 2016, Geely Holding invested in Carbon Recycling International (CRI) which utilizes renewable energy and carbon capture to synthesize green e-methanol (Vulcanol) on an industrial scale. Geely Holding has also helped CRI introduce its technology to the Chinese market with the world’s largest production facility of e-fuel from CO2. The Shunli plant in Anyang, Henan will produce 110,000 tons of clean methanol fuel along with other chemicals while recycling 160,000 tons of captured CO2. Geely’s investment in methanol hybrid technologies and green methanol e-fuel opens a realistic new path towards reaching global climate neutrality.