Gas Natural Fenosa and SEAT partner up to promote natural gas as a fuel for vehicles

  • The two companies are signing a strategic agreement to promote vehicular natural gas (VNG) in Spain through innovation projects, the development of new refuelling infrastructures and the increased use of vehicles powered by this energy.
  • The goal set by the power company and the car company is to help improve urban air quality by using natural gas in mobility.
  • Spain currently has 50 public service stations supplying VNG, 27 of which belong to GAS NATURAL FENOSA. Furthermore, over 6,100 vehicles powered by this efficient fuel are currently on the roads in Spain.
  • The SEAT range already includes three models powered by compressed natural gas (CNG). The car company will launch the CNG version of its Ibiza model this year and the new Arona will also have a version powered by compressed natural gas in 2018.
The Chairman of GAS NATURAL FENOSA, Isidro Fainé, and the Chairman of SEAT, Luca de Meo.
The Chairman of GAS NATURAL FENOSA, Isidro Fainé, and the Chairman of SEAT, Luca de Meo.

The Chairman of GAS NATURAL FENOSA, Isidro Fainé, and the Chairman of SEAT, Luca de Meo, signed a strategic agreement between the two companies earlier today aimed at promoting joint innovation projects and spreading the use of natural gas in the Spanish mobility sector.

This long-term partnership will allow the power company and the car company to lead the growth and positioning of vehicular natural gas (VNG) as an efficient and alternative fuel for transport. The two companies have already been working together in this field since 2013.

Under this partnership, GAS NATURAL FENOSA and SEAT will promote various lines of action to introduce and commercialise gas-powered vehicles among three specific groups.

Firstly, through the official SEAT dealerships, in which development of infrastructures to provide gas refuelling stations and training programmes for employees will be analysed. Secondly, the two companies will create a joint commercial offer for Spanish self-employed professionals, through which they will benefit in terms of cars and fuel. And finally, work will be done on a programme of domestic natural gas installation aimed at individuals, supported by the authorities to meet the corresponding regulatory issues for this activity.

Furthermore, the two companies will start offering financial aid for research on new efficient fuels, such as biogas. The strategic agreement includes more widespread implementation of gas-powered vehicles and the promotion of compressed natural gas (CNG) in the public service sector.

“This agreement will allow the continued promotion of sustainable mobility, both in the private sector and the professional sector. Vehicular natural gas can improve competitiveness and foster economic development thanks to a competitive price and its key role in improving air quality in our cities”, said the Chairman of GAS NATURAL FENOSA, Isidro Fainé.

In turn, the Chairman of SEAT, Luca de Meo, stressed that, “under this partnership, we are reaffirming our commitment to the development of compressed natural gas as an alternative fuel. CNG vehicles actively contribute to efficient mobility in cities, emissions reduction and meeting the new environmental criteria. Authorities also play a vital role for investment in infrastructures that can speed up the growing number of refuelling points and convert natural gas into a more accessible technology”.

SEAT currently has hybrid compressed natural gas and petrol technology in its Leon model (both the 5-door and saloon versions) and the Mii model. These will be joined in the final quarter of this year by the CNG version of the SEAT Ibiza and, in 2018, by the new Crossover Arona.

A long-term strategic agreement

GAS NATURAL FENOSA and SEAT signed their first partnership commitment in 2013. Since then, 237 compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicles have been added to the vehicle fleets operated by the power group in Spain. The current fleet of CNG vehicles run by the company in Spain consists of 300 vehicles.

The partnership agreement signed today will allow the two companies to keep working on the spread of natural gas in the transport sector and boost its use as an alternative fuel, both in private vehicles and heavy transport vehicles.

Vehicular Natural Gas in Spain

Spain currently has 50 public service stations supplying natural gas, 27 of which belong to GAS NATURAL FENOSA. According to figures from GASNAM (the Iberian Association for Gas-Powered Mobility), new natural gas-powered vehicle registrations rose by 133% in 2016 in Spain to close the year with over 6,100 of these vehicles on Spanish roads. Of those, almost 1,700 are light vehicles and over 4,200 are heavy transport vehicles, such as buses or lorries.

Spain currently stands as the European country with the most liquefied natural gas (LNG) vehicle service stations, and the second in Europe in terms of transport vehicles running on LNG.

The advantages of this alternative fuel

Natural gas as a source of energy for vehicles offers both environmental and economic advantages, and represents an alternative to conventional fuels.

This fuel allows atmospheric emissions to be reduced, thereby improving air quality in cities. In this regard, it reduces nitrogen oxide emissions by over 85% and helps reduce CO2 emissions – the main greenhouse gas – by 24%, as well as practically all suspended particulates. This energy therefore helps combat climate change.

Furthermore, natural gas vehicles enable noise pollution in cities to be reduced because they produce 50% less sound emissions and vibrations when compared with diesel engines.

Beyond the environmental advantages and from an economic perspective, natural gas is a highly competitive fuel because it offers a 30% saving per kilometre over diesel and a 50% saving over petrol vehicles.