Mercedes-Benz has added a liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) Sprinter dual fuel variant to the line-up: the Sprinter 316 LGT (Liquefied Gas Technology). Models begin production this month. Certified to Euro 5 standard, the Sprinter 216 LGT features s four-cylinder, 1.8-liter gasoline engine designed to run on LPG (also called 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. Compared with gasoline engines, CO2 emissions are about 20% lower, along with the lower carbon monoxide, hydrocarbon and sulphur dioxide emissions.
Along with the standard 100-liter (26 gallons US) gasoline tank, the Sprinter 316 LGT with 3.5 tonnes gross vehicle weight is fitted with an LPG tank with a capacity of 76 liters (20 gallons), located underneath the vehicle towards the frame end. Due to this method of installation, the load carrying capacity of the van is not restricted at all.
The 115 kW (156 hp) supercharged engine with a maximum torque of 240 N&iddot;m at 3000-4000 rpm generally starts in gasoline mode. If LPG mode is selected, the vehicle will automatically switch to gas operation as soon as the necessary cooling-water temperature of around 45 ° Celsius has been reached. Once the gas tank is empty, it will then again automatically switch back to gasoline mode.
The driver can however also decide whether to direct fuel to the engine from the gasoline or the LPG tank, and can change operating mode even while on the move via a push-button switch. The driver can also check the level of the LPG tank on an LED display on the instrument panel. The maximum range of the Sprinter 316 LGT is around 1,200 kilometers (746 miles); up to 450 kilometers (280 miles) can be covered in gas mode.
The gas connection is located above the gasoline filler neck, behind the fuel filler flap. Depending on the pressure used at the filling station, filling the LPG tank takes about as long as filling a tank with petrol or diesel. Unlike natural gas, the liquefied gas does not have to be highly compressed. The propane-butane mixture liquefies at a pressure of just two to eight bar and can be stored in the tank in this form. The connection point on the vehicle is fitted with a European ACME screw cap. Dish and bayonet adapters for use at Italian and Dutch filling stations respectively are supplied in the glove compartment. This means that the three tank connection systems to be found across Europe can all be used.
The Sprinter 316 LGT therefore not only meets the specific safety standards that apply to vehicles running on liquefied petroleum gas, but has also successfully passed a comprehensive range of in-house tests. Every time the vehicle starts, the engine control systems checks the LPG fuel system for leaks.
The Sprinter 316 LGT is available in various versions: panel van, crewbus, chassis-cab and crewcab, in each case with a wheelbase of either 3665 or 4325 mm. Whichever model is chosen, the price for conversion to LPG operation is €2,538 (US$3,600).