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Old 28.05.2008, 12:34
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Erdgas vehicles. Any experiences?

I'm looking at buying a new small van and one of my options is to go for an Erdgas vehicle. I'm not really looking for vehicle recommendations I would just be interested in any experiences people have of using Erdgas here.

I've found loads of info on Google about LPG/Erdgas and there is a lot of conflicting information about different nozzles and adaptors throughout Europe (as well as one mention that Erdgas was in fact different from LPG ). As I will be driving back to the UK every 2 months this could be an important factor!

Thanks for any help.
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Old 28.05.2008, 12:39
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Re: Erdgas vehicles. Any experiences?

A mate had a Mercedes Kombi that had been converted. Downside was:
  • smell
  • loss of cargo space (tank is pretty big)
  • difficult to resell
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Old 28.05.2008, 14:24
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Re: Erdgas vehicles. Any experiences?

There is one big downside with LPG vehicles in Switzerland - more often than not they're not allowed access to underground car parks.

I don't know whether ferries would have a similar restriction for LPG-powered vehicles.
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Old 28.05.2008, 14:35
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Re: Erdgas vehicles. Any experiences?

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There is one big downside with LPG vehicles in Switzerland - more often than not they're not allowed access to underground car parks.

I don't know whether ferries would have a similar restriction for LPG-powered vehicles.
Thanks, I have never been asked when booking ferries but I do know Eurotunnel do not allow them. Will check all ferry operators to be sure though.
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Old 28.05.2008, 15:03
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Re: Erdgas vehicles. Any experiences?

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I'm looking at buying a new small van and one of my options is to go for an Erdgas vehicle. I'm not really looking for vehicle recommendations I would just be interested in any experiences people have of using Erdgas here.

I've found loads of info on Google about LPG/Erdgas and there is a lot of conflicting information about different nozzles and adaptors throughout Europe (as well as one mention that Erdgas was in fact different from LPG ). As I will be driving back to the UK every 2 months this could be an important factor!

Thanks for any help.
I do not know prices in Switzerland, but here in Hungary the savings are minimal as the car will use much more from the LPG.(I am working for an oil company currently). benzin prices are very high here (higher than in Switzerland) and still our lpg turnover is not very good.
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Old 28.05.2008, 15:44
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Re: Erdgas vehicles. Any experiences?

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I do not know prices in Switzerland, but here in Hungary the savings are minimal as the car will use much more from the LPG.(I am working for an oil company currently). benzin prices are very high here (higher than in Switzerland) and still our lpg turnover is not very good.
Erdgas and LPG are still quite a lot cheaper than petrol, but for how long I wonder Certainly in the UK, once the government have enticed enough people to convert the tax is bound to creep up.
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Old 28.05.2008, 15:53
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Re: Erdgas vehicles. Any experiences?

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Erdgas and LPG are still quite a lot cheaper than petrol, but for how long I wonder Certainly in the UK, once the government have enticed enough people to convert the tax is bound to creep up.
few more things which are also based on my home country's practice(so just ingnore if it is not valid in Switzerland):

You can't refuel LPG yourself you should ask for assistance, which could take some time if you arrive in a busy time and all the guys are busy with other customers. Furthermore in a lot of cases there is no room at the table for lpg prices, so you should stop and ask the price when hunting for low priced stations. And of yourse not every station offers LPG.
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Old 29.05.2008, 10:20
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Re: Erdgas vehicles. Any experiences?

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Erdgas and LPG are still quite a lot cheaper than petrol, but for how long I wonder Certainly in the UK, once the government have enticed enough people to convert the tax is bound to creep up.
I had a BMW with LPG when I was in Holland (in the 1980s). No problem (then) taking it on ferries and I always filled it myself. They were supposed to be 10-15% less powerful on LPG (also affecting consumption, but not by a measurable amount in my experience) but for normal everyday use the much cheaper price of LPG in Holland meant you didn't care. If you have a vehicle which is already underpowered, you probably will notice a difference in consumption.

On buying LPG in England, in those days I could only find LPG pumps at motorway service stations or the type of garage which charged top price for petrol. The price of their LPG was about the same as 4 star petrol at a discount garage, so no contest - I'd fill up with 4 star and enjoy the full performance

You are probably correct in thinking that HMG will put the price of LPG and Ergas up when they think they can get away with it.

The amount of space the tank took turned a generous sized boot into a smallish one. I had to take the wheels off my bicycle to get it in.

Having the range of two tanks was definitely an advantage for long trips, not just to avoid motorway fuel prices but to save time. On the trips where I went Home - Ostend - Dover - Leeds I always ran out of LPG about a mile short of Leicester Forest East (it really was predictable to within about 100 meters), and would use petrol all the way until the return trip.

Thinking of the range two tanks can give you, is there any VAT advantage or diadvantage for you arising from which country you buy your fuel?

Having said all the above, why an ERD van and not a diesel? The diesel car I ran in the UK in the early 1990s was a real pain on long trips from a noise point of view (not to mention its lack of puff at motorway speeds). Today's diesel cars are soooo much better in this respect, but can the same be said for vans?
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Old 29.05.2008, 10:24
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Re: Erdgas vehicles. Any experiences?

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Having said all the above, why an ERD van and not a diesel? The diesel car I ran in the UK in the early 1990s was a real pain on long trips from a noise point of view (not to mention its lack of puff at motorway speeds). Today's diesel cars are soooo much better in this respect, but can the same be said for vans?
The favourite is still a diesel Citroen Berlingo 1.4 (I think), it is pretty quiet and I'm not looking for speed (just as well), just economy. Erdgas vehicles here are quite a bit more expensive and I'm still not sure how much I would save to justify it. Will kick some tyres this weekend.
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Old 29.05.2008, 20:43
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Re: Erdgas vehicles. Any experiences?

Just a thought. Having done a little reading on the subject myself, is maximum laden weight likely to be a concern?
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Old 30.05.2008, 12:02
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Re: Erdgas vehicles. Any experiences?

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Just a thought. Having done a little reading on the subject myself, is maximum laden weight likely to be a concern?
No, probably max ever I would need to carry is 100 kilo. That's a lot of cheese
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Old 09.06.2008, 13:50
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Re: Erdgas vehicles. Any experiences?

Update.

I have found out that Erdgas is Compressed Natural Gas (CNG - methane based) and it is not LPG (Propane based) which is popular in the UK and at the moment there are only 8 garages in the UK selling CNG. Not a major problem as I can get 350 km's out of a full tank and about 200 km's on a reserve tank of diesel and there are 3 garages on my usual route, just off the M1.

There are 71 garages here that sell it and a massive 786 in Germany with enough in Lux, Belgium and France to make filling up easy on the trip.

Erdgas will give us 1000 chufs cash back if we have an Erdgas sticker on the back of the van (Opel Combo is the best deal - I know, but Alfa Romeo don't make vans) and our local Erdgas body say they will also give us 500 cash and 500 in fuel vouchers - but I need to confirm that we get both. Saint Gallen are also discussing in the Autumn removing road tax on Erdgas vehicles.

Price on the gas is about half the diesel cost and the CO2 emissions are about as low as you can get.

I think I'll go hug a tree and drink some Free Beer.
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Old 11.06.2008, 14:16
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Re: Erdgas vehicles. Any experiences?

Thanks for the update. I didn't realise that the Erdgas vehicles were conversions of diesels. I had assumed conversions of petrol engines,

Just one thing I'd like to mention. When I had my LPG car I had a problem while in the UK (an airpipe in the fuel system had blown off). I took it to the nearest BMW main dealer and they were really struggling to fix the problem as they were unfamiliar with LPG systems (I don't think they'd ever seen one before). As it was they didn't provide a complete fix and I had to wait until I got back to Holland for that.

The moral of that story is that if you get problems with your fuel system while in the UK, consider limping back this side of the Channel to get repairs done by someone who has experience with Erdgas systems.
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Old 11.06.2008, 14:28
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Re: Erdgas vehicles. Any experiences?

As I understand it, CNG works with diesel engines and LNG works with petrol, but there has been conflicting info. We'll head into the Opel garage soon and confirm these things.

I had thought of the possible problems in the UK, I'm just hoping that if I ever do have a problem I'll be OK to carry on with diesel. VW are making a right hand drive CNG van for the UK to test the market so hopefully fuel availability, and mechanical expertise, will improve. I'll just make sure I have good Europe wide break down cover

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Thanks for the update. I didn't realise that the Erdgas vehicles were conversions of diesels. I had assumed conversions of petrol engines,

Just one thing I'd like to mention. When I had my LPG car I had a problem while in the UK (an airpipe in the fuel system had blown off). I took it to the nearest BMW main dealer and they were really struggling to fix the problem as they were unfamiliar with LPG systems (I don't think they'd ever seen one before). As it was they didn't provide a complete fix and I had to wait until I got back to Holland for that.

The moral of that story is that if you get problems with your fuel system while in the UK, consider limping back this side of the Channel to get repairs done by someone who has experience with Erdgas systems.
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Old 04.07.2008, 10:08
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Re: Erdgas vehicles. Any experiences?

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As I understand it, CNG works with diesel engines and LNG works with petrol, but there has been conflicting info. We'll head into the Opel garage soon and confirm these things.

I had thought of the possible problems in the UK, I'm just hoping that if I ever do have a problem I'll be OK to carry on with diesel. VW are making a right hand drive CNG van for the UK to test the market so hopefully fuel availability, and mechanical expertise, will improve. I'll just make sure I have good Europe wide break down cover
Any update on CNG converted diesel engines?
I've read a bit about dual-fuel diesel/CNG which looks promising.

I go for diesel, not for the economy but for the torque!
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Old 04.07.2008, 10:50
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Thanks for the update. I didn't realise that the Erdgas vehicles were conversions of diesels. I had assumed conversions of petrol engines,
You're right, I have now found out CNG works dually with Benzine. I took one for a test drive, the car starts with Benzine and automatically switches over to Erdgas, you don't even notice it and when you run low on gas it switches back to Benzine.

It was 1.6 litre Opel Combi van, accelerating was a bit dull put it cruised comfortably at 140 kph. Opel also offer Europe wide assistance (by Vauxhall in the UK) which is handy because you don't get a spare wheel (the extra gas tanks take up the space) but are supplied with a repair kit! I think I'd rather find space inside the van for a proper spare myself.
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Old 07.07.2008, 23:09
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Re: Erdgas vehicles. Any experiences?

We have a Citroen Berlingo on benzin and LPG. You can choose yourself when to switch over with a little switch.

Only trouble being we have not found any LPG at gas stations in Switzerland yet!
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