More than hot air

Why LPG has be­come the next bat­tle­ground for the big Aussie ri­vals

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Car News - PAUL GOVER paul.gover@cars­guide.com.au

RIS­ING petrol prices could turn LPG into the new bat­tle­ground for Aus­tralia’s two heart­land brands, with both promis­ing muchim­proved tech­nol­ogy.

Ford will have a new, ded­i­cated LPG Fal­con in ac­tion by Au­gust and Holden will fol­low within six weeks with the gaspow­ered Com­modore.

Holden, how­ever, is keep­ing mum on the specifics of its LPG Com­modore— but Ford goes pub­lic this week with an early tease on the EcoLPi Fal­con.

It said the car would be on sale by the mid­dle of the year, which prob­a­bly means July-Au­gust, but did not re­veal any pric­ing. The EcoLPi, or liq­uid phase in­jec­tion, is promised with zero com­pro­mises on the Fal­con’s six-cylin­der en­gine, us­ing its six-speed au­to­matic gear­box from the ute and XT sedan right up to the XR6.

The big num­bers are 27 per cent more power and 10 per cent more torque than Ford’s pre­vi­ous E-Gas LPG sys­tem. And there is a promised 12-15 per cent cut in fuel con­sump­tion. The new-age LPG sys­tem is com­ing a lit­tle late— a de­lay that has been put down to the en­gi­neer­ing load placed on Ford by the global T6 pickup de­vel­op­ment pro­gram.

But it’s not as bad as the six-month over­run on the Eco­Boost four-cylin­der Fal­con that now won’t be avail­able in show­rooms un­til Jan­uary 2012.

Ford claimed it was us­ing the most up-to-date LPG tech­nol­ogy avail­able, with much-im­proved op­er­a­tion and drive­abil­ity com­pared to the pre­vi­ous ven­tur­istyle vapour sys­tem fit­ted to its E-Gas Fal­cons.

The heart of the process is an in­jec­tion sys­tem that is sim­i­lar to a con­ven­tional petrol en­gine, us­ing a high­pres­sure fuel rail that de­liv­ers liq­uid LPG di­rectly to the in­take port, so there is no gas con­ver­sion be­fore the liq­uid is fired into the cylin­der for com­bus­tion.

The sys­tem is more con­trolled and efficient, which pro­vides a boost to per­for­mance while also cut­ting con­sump­tion and CO emis­sions.

LPG is an al­ter­na­tive fuel that is read­ily avail­able al­most any­where in Aus­tralia and pro­vides real ben­e­fits,’’ said Bob Graziano, the pres­i­dent of Ford Aus­tralia.

Fal­con EcoLPi of­fers cus­tomers the power, torque and over­all en­gine per­for­mance they ex­pect from a tra­di­tional Aussie six . . . while at the same time de­liv­er­ing the fuel costs of a smaller car.’’

Ford is claim­ing ma­jor green cred­its for the LPG move, which comes as it rat­tles through a se­ries of up­dates led by the dieselpow­ered Ter­ri­tory.

Green cred: Ford’snewLPG sys­tem for Fal­con goes on sale mid next year

Ben­e­fits: Bob Graziano

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