AUSTRALIA: Holden introduces dual-fuel V6

By just-auto.com editorial team | 18 October 2006

General Motors' Australian unit Holden has introduced a dual-fuel version of its 3.6-litre 'Alloytec' V6 engine for the latest locally-designed and built Commodore range.

The 3.6-litre engine, built at Holden's Port Melbourne Global V6 plant, runs on both petrol and LPG and is claimed to have a seamless transition from petrol to LPG while driving, with only a small power difference. VE LPG powered sedans produce peak power of 175 kW @ 6000 rpm (petrol 180 kW @ 6000 rpm) and peak torque is 325 Nm @ 2600 rpm (petrol 330 Nm @ 2600 rpm).

Holden executive director, engineering, Tony Hyde, said the dual-fuel engine option gave customers an economical choice to petrol, without large sacrifices in performance.

He said there was widespread interest in LPG options given the fluctuating price of petrol.

LPG has long been a popular alternative fuel in Australia, and many Sydney taxis run on it.

"Dual-fuel engines provide a tremendous range and can significantly reduce running costs," Hyde said.

"A dual-fuel VE sedan range can be more than 1,100km and if customers travel around 30,000kms annually, running on LPG can save more than $A1,000 a year depending on fuel prices and driving style.

"The option of two tanks also offers the flexibility to run on LPG and fill up with petrol when the driver chooses - or to run on petrol should LPG be unavailable."

Hyde said the federal government's $2,000 LPG rebate was also a strong incentive for private customers to explore the $3,900 dual-fuel option.

Private purchasers of Holden's dual-fuel engine are eligible for the $2000 rebate because fitting is done post vehicle production.

LPG fuel economy on dual-fuel Omega and Berlina models is 16.0 litres per 100km and petrol is 11.7 litres per 100km. The increased petrol consumption in dual-fuel engine models (VE petrol only Omega and Berlina models return 10.9 litres per 100km) is due to the weight of the gas cylinder (just under100kg).

Holden's LPG unit is a sequential vapour gas injection (SVGI) system, which injects gas directly into the engine, mimicking the petrol injection sequence.

It has automatic changeover to LPG via seamless cylinder-by-cylinder activation and provides an automatic change back to petrol at low LPG levels.

In VE sedans, a cylindrical gas tank is located in the boot and usable LPG tank volume is 73 litres. The 73 litre petrol tank remains unchanged.

Dual-fuel models are covered by the standard three-year/100,000km new vehicle warranty and are fully tested for safety and crash worthiness. All vehicle safety systems are retained and there is no difference to service intervals and little difference to service costs, with an LPG vapour filter requiring replacement every 15,000kms, and a liquid filter every 120,000 kms.