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Even a hybrid Toyota can be converted to LPG. We have tried it and know the pros and cons

Manufacturers of the components needed to convert cars to LPG drive already allow the use of this fuel also in cars with an electrified drive. For example, in the popular larger family SUV Toyota RA4 hybrid. We tested it in real operation and found that the operating costs are really very low.

In the recent period, every year in the Czech Republic, several thousand new cars are sold that are equipped with a system for driving on LPG from the factory, and thousands more motorists decide to invest in the conversion of a car for the same purpose.

From the data Czech LPG Association it follows that last year more than eight thousand such passenger cars were registered for operation. Currently, only Dacia and Renault brands offer factory modification. For the latter, named only for small models.

Take a look at our photo gallery to see what the rebuilt Toyota RAV 4 hybrid looks like:

The reason to approach this and invest tens of thousands of crowns (for aggregates with technology without direct gasoline injection, the idea costs at least 23 thousand, for direct injection engines at least 40,000 crowns) is the stable low price of a liter of this fuel. While a liter of gasoline with ninety-five octane now costs more than 40 crowns, the price of a liter of LPG is about 17.50.

Even though the consumption of LPG-burning engines is approximately 10-25 percent higher compared to the operating time on gasoline, depending on the driving method and conditions, each kilometer can be saved in operating costs according to our rough calculation of approximately one crown during each kilometer driven. I verified it in practice and behind the wheel of a rebuilt one Toyota RAV 4 Hybridwhich was lent to the editorial office by the Czech LPG Association.

A video made by an LPG supporter explaining a number of detailed issues can be viewed here:

Source: Youtube

A motorist who drives twenty thousand kilometers a year will pay back the investment of forty thousand in the reconstruction within two years. The operation of such a car is not complicated at all, as I have tried. Fuel is refueled using a valve located next to the classic petrol filler neck. It is also hidden under a metal hinged lid. You just need to screw in the appropriate reducer before connecting the hose.

We tested the Octavia converted to LPG in winter conditions

We tried an Octavia converted to LPG: The investment returns quite a long time

The tank located under the boot floor in the space under the spare wheel can hold 55 liters of LPG. It is a good idea to remember or write down when and at what number of kilometers on the odometer you last refueled.

Consumption will increase slightly

During the test in the combined driving mode, I recorded a long-term average LPG consumption of 6.5 liters per hundred kilometers. Only about a quarter of the highway routes were taken, the rest were shared by trips in cities and on roads of the first to third classes. I always respected the given speed limits. But even a more hurried driver will drive with an LPG consumption of around seven litres.

We need this reductionWe need this reduction.Source: Diary/Radek Pecák

There is no float level gauge in the LPG tank, and only four gradually extinguishing lights on the switch knob give a rough estimate of how much LPG is still left for the next trip. In the tested Toyota, it was located in a compartment at the bottom in the center of the dashboard. By pressing it, it is possible to switch the use of fuels from LPG to gasoline and vice versa. If the LPG runs out, the petrol supply to the combustion chamber of the engine is switched on automatically.

The car also runs on gasoline after a cold start. I tested during the spring, so usually at temperatures between 15 and 20 degrees Celsius. It only took a few hundred meters to warm up the engine to the required level of about 30 degrees, and then I was running on cheap LPG the whole time. Gasoline consumption (if, of course, you don’t forget to fill up with LPG) is therefore very low for most of the year and will range at most in the order of a few tenths of a liter per hundred kilometers.

The modernized Toyota Corolla TS feels good even on country roads

Test Toyota Corolla station wagon after facelift. Even the new hybrid is not perfect

The conversion from burning one type of fuel to another was done without any jerk or sound. I didn’t notice any significant reduction in available performance either. The hybrid RAV4 in the latest generation has an output of over 220 horsepower, which is absolutely sufficient for normal driving. Even if it were ten or twenty horses less with LPG, it probably wouldn’t be a problem.

Taxi drivers will go for it

Rather, the question is for what use does the conversion of such a hybrid car make sense. The hybrid works most economically (with gasoline for approximately 5 liters per hundred kilometers and with LPG for approximately 5.5-5.8 liters) on urban routes. A large part of the distance goes there thanks to the electricity charged to the battery during the deceleration of recuperation. On the highway, hybrids usually already consume quite a lot. On the other hand, even there, LPG pays off with its low price. Taxi drivers will most likely go into the conversion of hybrids. They drive a lot and don’t go into underground garages very often.

It is still difficult to park an LPG car in cities. Only a few parking garages and garages have installed ventilation and therefore there is no LPG entry ban sign in front of their entrance. You will most likely be directed to the outdoor parking lot.

Finding a place to refill LPG is still not difficult. There are almost a thousand gas stations with this substance, so basically you will find a corresponding stand at every fourth gas station.

The disadvantage that you have to put up with is also the relatively frequent visit to the relevant workshop to check the components related to the LPG conversion. For example, changing the LPG filter and checking the tightness must be done every twenty thousand kilometers. The lifespan of the tank itself is ten years.

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