Mercedes Starts Production of LPG-Powered Sprinter Commercial Van for Europe

By Scott Doggett November 3, 2010

MB-LPG-Sprinter.jpgMercedes-Benz announced today that the version of its Sprinter commercial van that runs on liquefied petroleum gas will enter production this month.

The Sprinter 316 LGT in the Mannheim Mercedes-Benz plant.

The Sprinter 316 LGT (Liquefied Gas Technology) has been certified to the extremely low Euro 5 emissions standard, in part because it uses a small (1.8-liter) four-cylinder gasoline engine that's been tweaked to run on LPG, which is also known in some countries as autogas.

The particulate emissions of LGT engines are virtually zero, while emissions of nitrogen oxides, hydrocarbons and carbon monoxide, as well as sulphur dioxide, are significantly reduced in comparison with diesel engines.

When compared with gasoline engines, a reduction of 20 percent in CO2 emissions is particularly noteworthy, along with the lower carbon monoxide, hydrocarbon and sulphur dioxide emissions.

Start of production of the Sprinter 316 LGT is yet another significant  development by a major automaker regarding the use of the relatively clean fuel in a van. Last May, General Motors said it would offer versions of the Chevrolet Express and GMC Savana full-size vans that run on compressed natural gas and liquefied petroleum gas to fleet and commercial customers beginning this year.

And last February, Ford said it would begin offering its Transit Connect small van with an option to convert the model's 2.0-liter Ford Duratec gas engine into an engine that could run on LPG or compressed natural gas.

In addition to its cleanliness, the Sprinter 316 LGT lowers operating costs, because LPG costs less than gasoline and diesel. Depending on the nature of the work performed and other factors, this can add up to an operating cost advantage of 30 percent or more.

Along with the standard 100-liter (26.4 U.S. gallons) gasoline tank, the Sprinter 316 LGT is fitted with an LPG tank with a capacity of 76 liters (20 gallons) that is located underneath the vehicle towards the frame end (which doesn't reduce the vehicle's load-carrying capacity).

LPG tank allows a driving range of up to 450 kilometers (279 miles). The driver can switch back an forth between LPG and gasoline. Combined, the driving range of the vehicle is 1,200 kilometers (745 miles).

The Sprinter 316 LGT is available in various versions - panel van, crewbus, chassis-cab and crewcab - but for the time being it is only being offered in Europe. Conversion of the vehicle to run on LPG costs 2,538 euros ($3,550).

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