Cleaner and Greener – Volvo’s new Gas 850
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VOLVO'S COMMITMENT TO a cleaner motoring environment will be strengthened in 1996 as the company's pioneering gas-powered 850 goes on sale. Available in Britain from next summer Bi-Fuel 850's are factory built cars, involving no post-production modifications, and therefore enjoy Volvo's full three-year, 60,000-mile warranty system. The Bi-Fuel 850 can be run on compressed natural gas or petrol power using the highly-acclaimed five-cylinder, 2.5 litre engine to give cleaner gaspowered city driving plus the benefit of an additional 150-mile journey range. These twin assets are available to drivers of this innovative automatic Volvo 850 saloon and estate at the push of a button on the car's central console.
Ultra Low Emissions
The 850's exhaust emissions register just one tenth of the limit on harmful substances set by Swedish legislation. Equally significant is the fact that the dual-fuel technology comes well within the limits of California' s stringent ULEV (Ultra Low Emission Vehicle) standards. With two fuels offering maximum flexibility and ease of use, the proven lightweight power unit features a supplementary injection system for compressed methane gas. A microprocessor-controlled fuel distributor supplies the engine with gas via five injection valves - one for each cylinder - and ignition is regulated and monitored through the normal advanced electronic Volvo system. A gas tank, with a capacity equivalent to about 4.5 gallons of petrol is fitted in the luggage compartment. It is fuelled through a special filler cap located just below the conventional petrol counterpart. Rigorous international regulations dictate that the gas tank can withstand immense impacts and severe forces. Any interruption to supply or damage to a fuel line instantly triggers a cut-off device while a warning lamp flashes when the gas level is running low. If the driver ignores or does not see the reminder the system switches back automatically to petrol power. Long-term reliability and practicality of the Bi-Fuel technology has been proven through Volvo's joint venture with the City of Gothenburg which runs a fleet of gas-powered Volvo cars. Gas-powered Volvo buses also operate successfully on the streets of Gothenburg, Malmo and Lund.
Customers will have to pay around £3,000 extra for the innovative and "green" models. Volvo's philosophy of offering tailor-made models means the saloon and estate cars fitted with the BiFuel system can be specified with the wide range of specification and trim levels offered on other 850s in the range. Because natural gas occupies more space in the combustion chambers of the 5-cylinder engine the power output drops by about 10 per cent when running on gas but throttle response and driveability is unaffected. Fuel consumption is normally 2-3 per cent better than petrol equivalents.