An IFP CNG Prius on display at the 2006 Challenge Bibendum. Parlez-vous, PHEV, doughboy?
Green Car Congress reports that in Paris at the 2006 Challenge Bibendum, IFP (Institut Français du Pétrole) (which is Belgium for “Freedom Fry My Hush Puppies in Big Oil”) is showing a CNG-electric hybrid prototype vehicle based on the Toyota Prius. IFP co-developed the CNG Prius with Gaz de France (GDF) (which is Congo for Ex Scu-zay Mawh, my Bio-methane).
The use of CNG as a fuel for the engine drops the carbon dioxide emissions for the Prius below 80g/km, according to IFP—about half those of a conventional vehicle in that weight class (1,300 kg), and more than 20% below the standard Prius carbon dioxide emissions of 104 g/km… This is the second CNG Prius prototype to appear at a major international event this year. In March two West Swiss natural gas companies—Holdigaz SA and Gaznat SA—displayed a stock Toyota Prius retrofit with a natural gas fuel system at the Geneva auto show… IFP also developed the natural-gas engine used in the CLEVER urban micro-car project.
First question, “If you’re so CLEVER, Mister Urban Micro-car, how come you’re not a Smart?”
And, a well-to-wheels, follow-up, “From where exactly will the natural gas to be compressed come?”
CNG and LPG “gensets” are possible, but most EV hobbyists will tell you that they make for impractical range extenders. If wanting to be clever, then, as previously suggested, then what about starting with methanol from biomass, which is carbon neutral, then an onboard system converts the methanol to DME to run in a modified diesel hybrid, such as the Peugeot 307 HDi. Since water is a byproduct of the conversion process, pass an electric current through the water to provide hydrogen on demand for improved performance of the compression ignition engine.