Volkswagen has launched the eco up! -- the natural gas car that offers the highest fuel economy in the global market. Natural gas and biomethane have excellent potential for lowering the CO2 emissions level. There’s no doubt that the new eco up! is presently the most fuel-efficient natural gas passenger car in the world.
For every 100 km, the four-seat Volkswagen uses up only 2.9 kg of natural gas (CNG = Compressed Natural Gas) and emits 79 g/km of CO2. The fuel efficiency leads to very low fuel costs. In Germany, the eco up! that is offered either as a two-door or four-door claims a cost of slightly more than 3 euros for 100 km. But in Italy, it costs less than 3 euros. Italy has the biggest market for natural gas cars in Europe.
There is currently no other all-round car that could be driven so economically. But what makes natural gas cars such as the eco up! very advantageous is that they’re not limited to natural gas. Alternative fuels like renewable biomethane can also be used to power these cars. Biomethane is built from plant by-products and does not compete with food crops.
In addition, it is CO2-neutral since the car emits the same level of carbon dioxide in combustion as it absorbs while the plants were growing. Furthermore, new methods for generating biomethane (like getting it from straw) will further reduce dependency on classic natural gas.
The German Biomass Research Centre in Leipzig conducted a study and found that in Germany alone, as much as 13 million metric tonnes of straw are unused annually. In theory, this biomass could power four million natural gas vehicles. The first facility for biomethane production from straw started operating in Germany in February 2012.
From the front, the up! seems to smile, because of its bumper lines. And this is intentional. A thin black stripe flows between the headlamps (with integrated day running lights). Incorporated here is Volkswagen’s logo, the only element in chrome found in the front. The up! does not need big air intakes because it has small gas and natural gas engines as well as an electric motor that is on its way.
The headlamps are pointedly smaller than other Volkswagen models, while still being very visually prominent. The front styling for all VWs follow the same design principles. All VW models are united by such design parameters as a meticulous emphasis on level outlines, connecting the grille to the headlights, and precise short angles.
And still, notwithstanding their clear similarities, each Volkswagen is different from another. Vital here are the dimensional differences of every component. This creates highly distinct vehicles across the model range from the friendly up! to the elegant Phaeton.
In side profile, the surfaces’ prominent flaring and alternating convex and concave shapes delineate the car's style. A slight dipped groove over the side sill makes an accent on the flowing surface. The side silhouette shows no seams or edges other than the wheel housings and the side windows. The wheels are in strong housings, with very large side surfaces, also known as wheel mirrors, so that the small wheel diameters (14” to 16”) appear larger.