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Holden Commodore cooking with gas

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Holden Commodore cooking with gas

Barry Park

December 11, 2010


Holden is expected to release an LPG Commodore.

Holden plans an LPG assault for its next-generation flex-fuel family car, but it won't include E85.

Holden is expected to release a dedicated LPG Commodore with more advanced liquid fuel injection as part of a push to increase the popularity of the fuel.

Holden is planning a radical change to its Commodore family car that will attract buyers back to liquid petroleum gas - but it won't include the ability to also run on an ethanol blend.

LPG is largely unloved by the Australian car-buying public, regarded as a taxi fuel and accounting for only 1 per cent of annual sales despite generous government subsidies. But Holden chairman and managing director Mike Devereux says the car maker has big plans for the fuel ahead of a model update due in 2012.

"Our objective on our next Commodore will have a very, very sophisticated dedicated LPG system," said Mike Devereux, Holden chairman and managing director. "This allows us to optimise engine performance specifically for LPG and get better performance and economy."

Regarding LPG he said Holden wants to "make it a real alternative to private buyers that doesn't involve any compromises".

"We also want to help change the perception of LPG."

The LPG strategy is the next plank in Holden's energy diversity, which gives customers alternatives to traditional petrol and LPG. E85 (a blend of petrol and up to 85 per cent ethanol) is already available in the Commodore.

Like LPG, it also helps utilise local fuels rather than relying predominantly on imported fuel.

Ford builds its Falcon large family sedan with a dedicated LPG system, and is expected to next year introduce a liquid injection system that provides almost the same fuel economy - LPG burns at a rate up to 30 per cent faster than petrol - and almost the same performance as its petrol equivalent.

HSV became the first performance car maker to offer LPG on its V8-powered Commodore-based models with its "LPI" liquid-injection version in dual-fuel set-up that reverts to petrol on start-up and at higher engine revs.

According to Holden energy and environment director Richard Marshall, the version of the Commodore we're not yet ready to see is a flex-fuel vehicle capable of running on petrol, E85 ethanol-blended fuel or LPG.

''Holden will continue to keep its mono-fuel (petrol/E85) strategy, and a dual-fuel strategy with petrol and LPG,'' he says. ''We're not going to say anything yet about something that combines all three.''

Holden's modifications to its 3.0-litre V6 and 6.0-litre V8 engines now allow the vehicle to use any combination of fuel from just petrol alone up to E85, a mix of 15 per cent petrol and 85 per cent ethanol.

The 3.6-litre V6 engine is expected to add E85 compatibility in 2011. The engine is expected to be offered alongside the V8 for police vehicles being developed for the US market.



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