Opel performed the world debut of its first Compressed Natural Gas compact van with a turbocharger, the Zafira ecoM, at the Bologna motor show. This particular variant of Opel's 7-seater minivan is equipped with a 1.6-liter turbo engine designed to run on either natural gas, bio-methane or any mixture of the two. The unit is provided with special pistons, valves and valve seats, plus separate injection systems for natural gas and gasoline. The engine has an output of 150HP offering the Zafira a top speed of 200 km/h (124 mph) and an average consumption of 5.3 kg of natural gas per 100 km in the MVEG cycle, emitting 144 g/km of CO2.
In gas mode alone, the vehicle can drive up to 370 km (230 miles), while the 14-liter reserve gasoline tank provides an additional range of 150 km (93 miles) for maximum flexibility. Zafira advantage in terms of flexibility and spaciousness are not disturbed in any way, influenced clever underfloor arrangement of four gas tanks around the rear axle. In fact, natural gas vans to give the space even more compact than its predecessor and has a luggage compartment capacity of 645 liters in the five-seat configuration - the largest among the seven-seat compact vans (depending on seating configuration up to a maximum of 1820 liters). As successful predecessor, the Zafira 1.6 CNG has a feature "innovative monovalentplus" concept, allowing maximum efficiency with natural gas operation. Sales of second-generation Zafira CNG start in spring 2006, while orders can be placed mid-September, when prices are announced.
Optimized high security, high-strength steel gas tank and rust free stainless steel pipe-gas safely outside the impact zone. This was also confirmed by ADAC in crash tests conducted by the first Zafira CNG in the spring of 2005. "The tank of gas that is stored in metal containers remain in their original position during both frontal and side collisions, despite body deformation. They therefore optimally protected against damage. The entire gas system stayed tightly closed, also the result of a safety valve that automatically shut in the tank ", said the club car experts, concluded the test results. In addition, the results clearly showed that the risk of fire with natural gas vehicles are not higher than usual. This is also due to the fact that natural gas is much less flammable than gasoline, and in case of a leak is highly unlikely, it soon disappeared. The new Zafira CNG also features the SAFETEC efficient system integrated into the passenger cell, which are reinforced by metal plates ultra-high strength. This ensures Zafira highest rating of five stars for adult passenger safety in Euro NCAP crash investigation.
With its innovative concept, CNG unit has a compression ratio increased, allowing high efficiency, and designed for optimal operation with natural gas, biogas or a mixture of both. Machine has special pistons, valves and valve-seat insert, and a separate injection banks for natural gas and gasoline. In addition, the engine management system optimized for natural gas operation. A 14-liter tank of gas reserves ensures continued mobility on routes without a natural gas filling stations. Switching between operating modes of fuel is through a button on the center console, or happens automatically when the main fuel supply was too low. Thanks to low consumption and low capacity of four natural gas tank 'of 21 kilograms, the Zafira CNG has a total operating range of more than 540 kilometers.