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Dual-Fuel VE Holden Commodore

Motoring Channel Staff - 25/Oct/2006

Holden VE Dual-Fuel Commodore
Holden VE Dual-Fuel Commodore

Holden VE Dual-Fuel Commodore
The 73 litre LPG tanks goes in the
Commodore's boot, and costs $2,400

Holden VE Dual-Fuel Commodore
This is an SS V Commodore with additional
extras such as the body decals and new alloy
wheels (included because it looks very trick)

Melbourne, Australia — Holden promised the car buying public an LPG Commodore straight out of the box when it launched its new VE range a few months ago, and now it has delivered.

VE dual-fuel models have begun production and can be ordered immediately, costing $2,400 more than their petrol equivalents.

Holden will sell a new dual-fuel V6 version of the Commodore in entry-level Omega, Berlina and V-Series special edition models - but not Calais V or SS V. 

This is a 6-cylinder only LPG engine, and there's no V8 systems just yet.

Unlike Ford's dedicated LPG "E-Gas" 4.0-litre Falcon, Holden's new system is not a dedicated LPG engine, but can run both LPG and petrol fuels. There are pros and cons for both dedicated and dual-fuel engines, but Holden sees the dual-fuel system it as a more flexible option. The E-Gas Falcon is built in the factory with the LPG engine (and costs $1,400 extra), where the Commodore system works differently, as it installed after the car delivered.

Buyers must first buy a new Commodore, then spend another $2,400 to get the dual-fuel engine conversion, but as Holden explains, this means buyers will only be outlaying $1,900 in total. This is made possible by the Australian government LPG initiative, which will grant buyers $2,000 cash back because the fitting of Holden's LPG-capable engine is done after the vehicle production at HSVi.

Holden’s dual-fuel Alloytec 3.6-litre V6 engine is available on the following vehicles:

VE Commodore Omega
VE Commodore V-Series
VE Berlina
VZ Commodore Executive Wagon
VZ Commodore Acclaim Wagon
VZ Commodore Ute

Holden explains that the 3.6-litre engine, built at Holden's Port Melbourne Global V6 plant, runs on both petrol and LPG and delivers seamless transition from petrol to LPG while driving, with only a small power difference.

Commodore VE LPG powered sedans produce the following torque and power outputs: 

Power: 175kW @ 6000rpm (petrol: 180kW @ 6000rpm)
Torque: 325Nm @ 2600rpm (petrol: 330Nm @ 2600rpm)

Tony Hyde, the executive director of engineering at GM Holden, said the dual-fuel engine option gave customers an economical choice to petrol, without large sacrifices in performance. He said there was widespread interest in LPG options given the fluctuating price of petrol.

"Dual-fuel engines provide a tremendous range and can significantly reduce running costs," Mr Hyde said, alluding to the fact that the new Holden LPG cars have two 73 litre fuel tanks - one petrol and one LPG. 

Having a total of 146 litres of fuel storage means a longer cruising range, but also means that bootspace is reduced, because the LPG tank is located in the boot.

"A dual-fuel VE sedan range can be more than 1100km and if customers travel around 30,000kms annually, running on LPG can save more than $1000 year depending on fuel prices and driving style," said Mr Hyde. "The option of two tanks also offers the flexibility to run on LPG and fill up with petrol when the driver chooses – or to run on petrol should LPG be unavailable."

Mr Hyde added that the Federal Government's $2000 LPG rebate was also a strong incentive for private customers to explore the $2,400 dual-fuel option. Private purchasers of Holden's dual-fuel engine are eligible for the $2,000 rebate because fitting is done post vehicle production at HSVi, as mentioned above.

Fuel economy on dual-fuel Omega and Berlina models is as follows:

LPG: 16.0L/100km
Petrol: 11.7L/100km

Holden explains the increased 11.7L/100km petrol consumption in dual-fuel V6 engine models is due to the weight of the gas cylinder (just under 100kg). Normal VE petrol-only Omega and Berlina models return 10.9 litres per 100km in comparison.

In terms of the LPG system itself, the Holden unit is an advanced Sequential Vapour Gas Injection (SVGI) system, which injects gas directly into the engine, mimicking the petrol injection sequence. It has an automatic changeover to LPG, which occurs via seamless cylinder-by-cylinder activation and provides an automatic change back to petrol at low LPG levels.

Holden says that in VE sedans, a cylindrical gas tank is located in the boot and usable LPG tank volume is 73 litres. The 73 litre petrol tank remains unchanged. Dual-fuel models are covered by Holden's 3-year/100,000km new vehicle warranty and are fully tested for safety and crash worthiness. All vehicle safety systems such as ESP (Electronic Stability Program) are retained.

GM Holden explains that there will be no difference to service intervals for dual-fuel owners, and little difference to service costs, with an LPG vapour filter requiring replacement every 15,000km, and a liquid filter every 120,000km.

Holden's new dual-fuel V6 Commodore and ute range will rival Ford's E-Gas Falcon, which can also be had in a range of models. Here is a short comparison table that compares the new dual-fuel VE Commodore with the E-Gas Falcon:

LPG Fuel Economy

LPG Cost

Power

Holden LPG Commodore

16.0L/100km

$2,400

175kW

Ford LPG Falcon

15.9L/100km

$1,400

156kW

Related articles:

- VZ Holden Commodore (2005)
VE Holden Commodore (2006)
LPG Subsidies in Australia
LPG Subsidies - Your Say

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