Oh, Lancia – how you tease me so! Longtime readers of Gas 2 and (before that) Sunshine Supercars are well aware of my love for Vincenzo Lancia’s “shield and flag” logo that is still (mostly) recognizable on the snouts of these little Italian luxury cars. What’s not to love? Want a fast, torquey, 40+ MPG minivan decked out in enough wood and leather to launch its own PeTA/EPA protest blog? Lancia has that. Want a tiny, inner-city runabout with the visual footprint (and 50+ MPG rating) of the long-lost and sorely missed Geo Metro that’s appointed like a bespoke suit and fitted with more high-end Alcantara and cutting-edge style than next week’s episode of Project Runway? Lancia has one of those. Want a swoopy, entry-luxe sedan that needs little more than a paint-job to look like a credible BTCC or WRC stage winner? Lancia most definitely has that.
So, basically everything I write about Lancia is a thinly disguised love letter … if you’re not OK with that, stop reading and go find some awful, boring car to obsess over. Try one of those Subaru WRX STis. People seem to like obsessing over those.
I’ll get to the point, then.
A few days ago, I got an email inviting me to check out Lancia’s new (new to me, anyway) eco-chic website (that’s not me being a clever writer, by the way – the site’s URL is actually LanciaEcoChic.com). The site introduced me to Lancia’s new line of ultra low-emission bi-fuel cars, which are capable of running on both conventional gasoline or LPG, without sacrificing comfort or driving dynamics.
Granted, Lancia could come out with a car that ran on puppy dogs and the tears of orphaned children and I’d probably hail it as some kind of marvel – but this isn’t that (I don’t think). Instead, these cars a response to increasingly strict emissions laws throughout Europe and Asia, which tax cars based on their emissions. It’s also significantly cheaper to fuel up with LPG, with a full tank costing less than 25 Euro, per the Lancia eco-chic website. That’s not even half of what it would cost to fill up on regular gasoline in most European markets.
Translation: the bi-fuel Lancias are cleaner, cheaper, and – believe it or not – even more convenient, with a potential driving range of more than 900 miles.
For those of you into tech-y stuff, LPG is not to confused with CNG. The fuel is a mixture of propane and butane, and has an energy density of about 10,000 kCal/kg … within 3% of conventional gasoline and near-as-makes-no-difference identical to the E10 and E15 we get stateside.
Lancia chose well, and – thanks to the Fiat buyout of Chrysler – we get to give a damn! The next Delta is expected to come to the US as the Chrysler 100 in 2014. No word on whether we’ll be getting a bi-fuel option, but expect a bio-rated diesel and seat-staining, twin-air, 280+ hp V6 to be options.