Antonio Calvo, Head of Sustainable Mobility at SEAT, got behind the wheel of a SEAT Leon 1.5 TGI to take on the more than 1,000 km drive and calculate how much it costs to drive from Barcelona to Paris. The following log details the trip in a natural gas powered car to the French capital:
– Starting point, the Sagrada Familia: Antonio Calvo sets off first thing in the morning from the steps of Antoni Gaudí’s basilica with full tanks of gas. Just a few kilometers into the challenge, the expert verifies that “when you drive this kind of vehicle, the feeling is exactly the same as with a petrol car. You don’t feel any difference in the dynamic performance or power.”
– Barcelona-Toulouse, for €15: Antonio Calvo crosses the border with France and covers a distance of over 400 km without stopping, at an average speed of 120 km/h. He makes his first stop to refuel when leaving the city of Toulouse. While filling the tank, he comments that “the process is very simple, as the universal nozzle enables you to refuel as usual at any natural gas station.” So far, he has spent €15 and has about 680 km to go until reaching his final destination.
– Next stop, Limoges: While driving through the French countryside, this expert points out that “driving a car powered with natural gas reduces CO2 emissions by 25% compared to a petrol car and nitrogen oxides by 75% compared to a diesel”. Antonio arrives to Limoges, where he stops again to refuel: “I’ve now covered 684 km and spent €25 on about 24 kg of gas”, he says. For the challenge, he has to cover the entire distance with this alternative fuel. The car drives on compressed natural gas by default, even though it also has a petrol tank, which only switches over when the compressed natural gas is depleted.
– Last 392 km to the City of Light: Antonio starts out on the last leg of his trip, and when arriving at the city limits of Paris he faces the possibility of traffic restrictions to access the city center during episodes of air pollution. With a population of more than two million people, this expert recalls that this city “is putting more and more restrictions on the most polluting cars. But as I’m driving this CNG car I can make it in without any problems, even if there were traffic restrictions today due to high pollution levels. Mobility using vehicular natural gas is considered by the EU as environmentally efficient due to its low emissions.”
– Challenge accomplished at the foot of the Eiffel Tower: Upon arrival at the Champs-Élysées, the head of Sustainable Mobility makes his final assessment of the trip: “I covered a total distance of 1,076 km and spent only €45, which amounts to an average of 3.6 kg of CNG for every 100 km. The cost savings is certainly one of the many advantages of natural gas. In fact, if I had made the same trip with a petrol powered car it would have cost me 50% more; and 30% more if it had been a diesel”, he concludes. This expert assures that compressed natural gas cars are a growing trend. There are more than 1.3 million vehicles driving on European roads with this kind of fuel, with Italy as the main market.
Antonio Calvo’s challenge at the wheel of a CNG powered car coincided with the Paris International Motor Show, where SEAT revealed the new Arona TGI, the world’s first SUV that is powered with this alternative fuel.