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Most Volvo car models are now available in a Bi-Fuel version with the latest generation Bi-Fuel gas/petrol engine, offering major benefits for both the environment and the car owner. The no-compromise Bi-Fuel concept offers better environmental properties and lower running costs than other Volvo cars. The true premium car experience in a Bi-Fuel car also includes world-class safety, unchanged loading capacity and access to a full range of personal specifications.

Cleaner and more fuel-efficient vehicles are important parts of Volvo Cars ´Clean Inside and Out' environmental concept, which also includes eco-branded interiors and filter systems that make the air inside the car cleaner than the air outside. Volvo Cars' new Bi-Fuel engines run on gas, using petrol as a reserve fuel - and no other car manufacturer can match this offer:

The 2.4-litre, five-cylinder Bi-Fuel engine for the Volvo S80, Volvo V70 and Volvo S60 will be available in two variants: one powered by methane (natural gas or biogas) and one that runs on liquefied petroleum gas (LPG). The maximum power is 140 bhp both on gas and petrol. Production of the S80 and V70 methane powered cars for the German market only started in May. Production of the MY02 S80, V70 and S60 LPG powered cars will start in October, the methane powered cars in December.
The Volvo S40 and V40 are available with a 1.8-litre, four-cylinder Bi-Fuel engine running on LPG. The output is 120 bhp in LPG mode and 122 bhp when driving on petrol. (Belgium and France: 116 bhp in LPG mode and 116 bhp on petrol). Production started in May.
Volvo Car Corporation's initiative to offer several Bi-Fuel models makes it possible to achieve substantial reductions of greenhouse gas emissions and other hazardous emissions. The Bi-Fuel concept also has advantages from an energy resource point of view.

The latest engine generation
The Bi-Fuel engine is part of Volvo Cars' latest engine generation. Low internal friction combined with electronic engine management and variable valve timing promote good performance and low fuel consumption in the petrol-powered variant - and by adding an advanced injection system for gas power, the engine has an even lower impact on the environment. When running on petrol, the Volvo S80 and Volvo V70 Bi-Fuel already meet the stringent EU 2005 tail pipe emission requirements - and when running on gas the emission levels are even lower. The Volvo S40 and V40 fulfil the present demands, i e EU2000.

The NMHC issue
When driving on methane, the actual environmental impact is even lower than what the EU certification tests show at present. The reason is that methane can be divided into two groups: methane and non-methane hydrocarbons (NMHC). Methane is not a hazardous emission, but NMHC is - and the NMHC emissions from CNG and LPG vehicles are much lower than from a petrol powered car. The U.S. authorities already make a distinction between total hydrocarbons and NMHC. A similar system is being discussed for cars within the EU (already introduced for heavy vehicles), but it has not yet been decided.

Two kinds of methane
Methane is a combustible fuel that can be obtained in two ways. It can either be extracted from the earth in the form of natural gas or produced from organic material in the form of biogas. Natural gas produces lower total emissions of environmentally hazardous and toxic substances compared with petrol and diesel. Emissions of carbon dioxide, which contributes to the greenhouse effect, are more than 20 percent lower than when driving on petrol. Driving on biogas produces no extra carbon dioxide at all, since the car is running on methane that is already an integrated part of the eco-system. Natural gas is available in most European countries, with a total of about 500 public filling stations - and the number is rising rapidly, especially in Sweden, Germany, Switzerland and Italy. Biogas is so far produced on a small scale, but interest in this clean and high-quality fuel is growing. Volvo Cars´ hometown Göteborg is an excellent example of how biogas produced from waste is systematically added to the existing CNG supply system.

LPG is a mixed gas
LPG is a mixture of two gases: propane and butane. It can be obtained directly when oil and gas are pumped out of the ground - or indirectly as a residual product from oil refineries. Similar to natural gas, LPG is a cleaner fuel than petrol and diesel. The emissions of carbon dioxide are 10 percent lower than from petrol. LPG is available from some 3,000 refuelling stations in Europe, with the greatest concentration in the Netherlands, Great Britain, Italy, Belgium, and France. The numbers are rising here, too, particularly in Great Britain thanks to very determined governmental support.

Attractive fuel costs
The price of the gas power system makes the initial car price higher. The growing focus on the need to limit greenhouse gas emissions, on the other hand, has led in several countries to incentives supporting the build-up of new alternative fuel infrastructures.

Examples of such incentives are:
In Great Britain, the so-called Power Shift Programme returns up to 75 percent of the extra cost to the car buyer. The government is also using fuel taxes to make more people drive gas powered cars. The new company car taxation is also heavily in favour of cars with reduced carbon dioxide emissions.
In Germany, some of the local regions offer strong financial support to buyers of new natural gas cars. The programme is primarily targeting taxi owners.
One out of ten cars in the Netherlands is LPG powered - and the authorities recently implemented new tax advantages for gas vehicles.
France is introducing tax advantages on LPG vehicles to tackle a growing particle problem due to the rising diesel population.
Italy is also subsidising gas powered vehicles.
Sweden has just announced a substantial company car tax reduction (-40%) for the Bi-fuel cars.
In some regions, owners of gas powered vehicles are offered exclusive benefits such as free parking in city centres, access to public transport lanes, access to city areas normally closed to car traffic or permissions to use cars when limitations apply to conventional cars.

Quick "pay back"
Driving on gas offers considerably reduced running costs - and the higher purchase price is quickly "paid back" through the lower fuel costs. The average taxi driver reaches the break-even level after six months. Depending on the market, the cost of driving on natural gas is 30-60 percent lower than running on petrol and between 20 and 40 percent lower than diesel.

Tanks under the floor
Gas is filled via a special nipple, located next to the fuel-filling cap. The gas tanks are located under the floor. This provides the owner access to the same load space as in the petrol and diesel powered versions. The possibility of creating an individually specified car is, of course, also unchanged. Gas is the default fuel. If the driver runs out of gas, the engine automatically switches to petrol power. The driver can also switch manually between gas and petrol. The Volvo S80, V70 and Volvo S60 Bi-Fuel have a range of about 300 km on a tank of methane or 450 km on a tank of LPG. The petrol tank provides an additional range of 330 km. The Volvo S40 and V40 Bi-Fuel has a 400 km driving range on LPG and a further 750 km on petrol.

In-house production and first-class safety
The Bi-Fuel installation is designed, tested and factory-fitted at Volvo Car Corporation. The Bi-Fuel cars are naturally crash-tested to ensure that they meet Volvo Cars' stringent safety requirements. Both the gas tank and all the connections are designed to withstand the forces in collision. The tanks are much stronger than comparable petrol tanks. The largest of the three CNG tanks is made of carbon fibre-reinforced aluminium, while the two smaller ones are made of steel. These gas tanks have been subjected to tough tests, including extreme heat, high pressure, gun shots, collisions and fire. The fuel system is also equipped with valves and other safety devices to prevent leakage. It should also be emphasized that methane is a non-toxic gas and safer to handle than petrol. LPG is a mix of gas and fluid with similar safety aspects as petrol.
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