Malcolm Flynn | Dec 7, 2012

Volkswagen has revealed a new European-market 'Eco' version of its versatile Up city car, fuelled with Compressed Natural Gas.

CNG is a popular alternative fuel option in Europe, which has a higher specific energy content than petrol or diesel.

Volkswagen’s data suggests that 1kg of CNG equates to 11.69kWh of energy, compared with diesel’s 9.86kWh or petrols 8.77kWh.

Modifications for the Up Eco include two CNG tanks with a total capacity of 72 litres (one replacing the spare wheel), while a 10 litre reserve petrol tank remains for when a CNG outlet cannot be found.

The Up Eco’s EcoFuel system also enables the use of renewable biomethane where available.

This system has been integrated entirely within the Up’s structure, with the only compromise to useable space being the lack of spare wheel recess.

Outputs for the 1.0 litre three cylinder engine are just 5kW and 5Nm less than the conventional petrol version, dropping to 50kW/90Nm.

2013 volkswagen up eco overseas 03

The Up Eco also features BlueMotion technologies like stop/start, brake regeneration and low rolling-resistance tyres to further bolster efficiency.

Volkswagen claims combined fuel economy of 4.4l/100km on the European cycle for the Up Eco, compared with 4.7l/100km (4.9l/100km on the Australian cycle) when burning petrol.

CO2 emissions drop to 79g/km (from 108g/km) on the European cycle, and current German CNG prices suggests fuelling costs less than half that of the conventional petrol model.

In Germany, the Up Eco’s €12,950 starting price represents a €3100 premium over a petrol model, but more than €1,000 of this will be returned as a German government subsidy.

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