Gas-powered Audi A3 TCNG Unveiled [Gallery]

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German automaker Audi has taken the wraps off the A3 TCNG at the 11th Michelin Challenge Bibendum that is to be held in Berlin until May 22. The vehicle, part of the company’s balanced mobility initiative, will run on e-gas - a synthetic methane gas which the brand will manufacture itself via wind energy.

The “balanced cycle method” is, in fact, similar to the purchasing of green power. When a driver refuels with e-gas, the corresponding amount of renewable energy required to produce said e-gas is fed into the grid.

Naturally. the 1.4 TFSI engine and the exhaust system’s catalytic converter were modified for e-gas driving. The A3 TCNG can run for 400 km (248.55 miles) on e-gas only, while conventional gasoline brings the total range to in excess of 1,200 km (745.65 miles).

“The high octane rating of approx. 130 RON for this fuel facilitates a high compression ratio, which ensures high efficiency. The two steel cylinders beneath the luggage compartment store the gas at a pressure of 200 bar, which suffices for over 400 km (248.55 miles) of driving. Thanks to its bivalent configuration, the A3 Sportback TCNG can run on conventional gasoline if it runs out of methane; its total range thus exceeds 1,200 km (745.65 miles),” the company explains.

“Compared to premium unleaded, the combustion of e-gas leads to far lower exhaust-pipe CO2 emissions. The life cycle assessment across the entire fuel chain is even more impressive,” the automaker brags. “The life cycle assessment is excellent even if one includes the CO2 emitted during the construction of engineering facilities.”

The company says that a compact car which runs on e-gas emits the equivalent of just 27 grams of CO2 per kilometer, which is not much more than an electric car which runs on green power.

The Audi A3 TCNG is scheduled to enter series production sometime in 2013, with just 1,500 to be built initially.
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