Omega a dual-fuel gas
Holden is helping tradies cut their bills, writes GRAHAMSMITH
THE dual-fuel VE Omega ute offers tradesmen the chance to cut their fuel bills, but still delivers everything its petrol-sucking Holden cousin does.
Instead of following the Ford path and making its LPG-fuelled ute a dedicated gas model, Holden has chosen to stick with tradition and go with dual-fuel.
Holden has, however, used a state-of-the-art gas-injection system instead of employing the older technology Ford has on its E-Gas engine.
Holden’s system is a wellrespected gas-injection unit designed and developed by Impco.
At first sight there is little to distinguish the dual-fuel Omega ute from the regular model. If it wasn’t for the sticker on the rego plates, no one would ever know it runs LPG as well as petrol.
It’s only when you dig a little deeper that you find the LPG filler tucked away neatly under the regular flap alongside the fuel filler. A fuel system switch and LPG level indicator are integrated into the centre console.
The smooth integration of the LPG system is even more evident on the road, where the Omega ute drives and performs equally well on LPG as it does on unleaded.
When driven on LPG the system is configured so the engine starts on petrol and switches over to LPG after a few seconds, so there’s none of the extended cranking times that occur when the engine is started on LPG.
The switchover is smooth and the driver won’t be aware it’s happening unless they are watching the system indicator in the centre console. A coloured light shows which system is in use at any time.
The indicator also includes a series of lights to indicate the level of LPG in the 73-litre tank just behind the Omega’s cabin.
Should the level fall to empty, the system will automatically switch to petrol, so there’s no interruption to driving.
On the road the dual-fuel Omega drives smoothly with none of the stalling, surging, or backfiring common in the past with cars running on LPG.
There’s also no feeling of a loss of performance from the 3.6-litre Alloytec V6 engine. The response to the throttle is fast and spirited.
Holden says the dual-fuel V6 puts out 175kW at 6500 revs and 318Nm at 2400 revs when working at its peaks, down from the 180kW at 6000 revs and 330Nm at 2600 revs it delivers in petrolonly form.
As with the regular Omega, the only choice of transmission in the dual-fuel ute is a five-speed auto, which shifts smoothly and works well, with no obvious glitches.
By going to the gas-injection system, Holden has been able to use the full capability of the dynamic stability control, which is standard on the dual-fuel ute as it is on the petrol model.
Stability control is only one of the safety systems that come standard. Others include anti-skid brakes, electronic brakeforce distribution for optimum braking, electronic brake assist in emergency stops, and traction control.
As with the regular ute, the dual-fuel model rides and handles well, steers with precision and stops with assurance.
Over the time bigwheels had the Omega ute it returned 13.29 litres per 100km on LPG in a mix of town, country and freeway driving, whereas a previous similar test of a petrol ute had it doing 12.5 litres/100km.
Using those figures, and the prices of regular unleaded and LPG at the time of the test on the dual-fuel ute, it would cost $152 for 1000km on regular unleaded, $64 for the same distance on LPG.
Big workload: the dual-fuel VE Omega rides and handles well, steers with precision and stops with assurance.