More than hot air
Why LPG has become the next battleground for the big Aussie rivals
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