Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Ypsilon and Musa Ecochic: the new LPG range

Lancia MusaImage via Wikipedia

Geneva sees the debut of the show cars anticipating the Lancia Musa and Ypsilon models with dual fuel (LPG and gasoline) which will be launched in March.
Known as “Ecochic”, the new range confirms Lancia’s constant concern with environmental issues through research and development to find practical solutions which are within the reach of everyone and available today (LPG is a “clean”, economical and widely available fuel). “The environment is a luxury we want to be able to afford”: this is the Lancia Ecochic philosophy.
In addition, the new Ecochic range is a timely answer to a growing demand. But whereas the majority of LPG vehicles currently on the streets have been converted to gas using “after-market” installations, Lancia has chosen to enter this sector with a system designed, manufactured and guaranteed by the brand itself and marketed through the normal sales network.
Produced in collaboration with FPT – Fiat Powertrain Technologies - and Landi Renzo, the Lancia dual-fuel models use a 1.4 liter bifuel engine producing 77 HP, specially designed for maximum integration and reliability in association with the LPG system, which is installed in the factory. Each car is certified, approved and guaranteed by Lancia Automobiles and for this reason can benefit from government subsidies in various European countries (for example in Italy these may be up to €2000 and are valid for the whole of 2009).

Technical description

The engine for the LPG versions (designed and supplied by FPT - Fiat Powertrain Technologies) uses a cylinder head with valves and seats manufactured with geometries and materials optimized for LPG operation. In addition, the 1.4 liter bifuel 77 HP engine has a special inlet system to accommodate the LPG injectors and all the associated additional electrical cabling which is already incorporated.
The toroidal (doughnut-shaped) LPG tank is located in the spare wheel well to preserve luggage space (a tire inflation kit comes as standard). In addition, the tank of both Lancia “Ecochic” cars have a capacity of 39 liters (this value allows for the tank filling limit of 80% required by the current regulations).
Lastly, the LPG car retains the possibility of being powered by gasoline: the switch from one fuel to the other can be performed in motion by pressing a special button. If the driver finds that he is running out of LPG fuel, the switch to gasoline will take place automatically, ensuring continuous movement. The overall range is remarkable: almost 1,300 km for the Lancia Ypsilon Ecochic (425 on LPG + 854 on gasoline) and almost 1,200 km for the Lancia Musa Ecochic (419 on LPG + 758 on gasoline).

The advantages of LPG (liquefied petroleum gas)

It should be emphasized that, compared with an after-market conversion, an original production car offers many advantages. For example, the use of specific materials and components and the application of a dedicated technology allow the customer to benefit from a contractual warranty from Lancia. In addition, since the modifications to the chassis are carried out in the factory, the car will have the maximum standards of comfort and safety as demonstrated by the many stringent tests to which the various components of the system are subjected. Last but not least, Lancia’s LPG-powered cars may benefit from government purchasing incentives. For example, in Italy, thanks to the reduced levels of CO2 emissions, Ypsilon Ecochic (119 g/km) and Musa Ecochic (120 g/km) will benefit from the maximum allowance of €2,000.
LPG is a hydrocarbon obtained by the process of refining crude oil or directly by extraction, using simple procedures to separate it from the natural gas or oil with which it is associated in the oil or gas fields. Compared with gasoline or diesel, LPG produces fewer pollutant emissions and in particular does not produce PM10 particulates, one of the main causes of atmospheric pollution in urban centers. For this reason, like methane-powered vehicles LPG-powered vehicles can access town centers which have limited traffic zones. Another strong point of LPG is that it does not penalize the roominess or performance of the car. A final advantage of not inconsiderable importance: LPG is considerably cheaper than gasoline or diesel.
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