Er is one of the last of its kind, the new Škoda Scala with natural gas drive. If Volkswagen promoted technology as a future-oriented and important building block of decarbonization during the “CNG Mobility Days” exactly one year ago, the U-turn came in March: Volkswagen abandoned the development of new models. As the group has a market share of 95 percent in natural gas cars, the market is therefore dead. Only 0.4 percent of all new registrations were driven by natural gas in 2019. The number of petrol stations has been falling since 2010. Despite government subsidies, the fuel is expensive. The driver of a natural gas car has the same problems as that of an electric car: petrol stations have to be found on the Internet or by app before driving off. The range is short at 250 to 350 kilometers, and you may have to take long detours.
It’s actually a shame if you have followed the continuous improvements of a niche technology over decades, from the lame natural gas car with a short range to today’s vehicles that are perfectly suitable for everyday use if they still have a second large petrol tank on board. Now we drove the Škoda Scala and enjoyed the lush space, which amazes you because the vehicle is only 4.36 meters long. With the rear seat bench folded down, we were able to easily stow the racing bike without removing a tire. The natural gas variant is only available with a single engine: the 1.0 G-Tec comes with a liter of displacement and 90 hp. It has front-wheel drive and is only available with a manual 6-speed gearbox.
In the natural gas scale, the trunk volume is unfortunately significantly reduced from 467 to 339 liters, because the gas tanks also have to be stowed away. They hold 13.8 kilograms. The monovalent drive causes abdominal pain. The petrol tank has only nine liters, so you are practically forced to drive with natural gas.
The 1.0 G-Tec is only available in the higher equipment ranges Ambition and Style, the cheapest entry price is 21,640 euros. Compared to the comparable 1.0 TSI with 95 PS, you pay an additional charge of 1200 euros, and some equipment details such as the virtual cockpit are not available in the G-Tec version. The specialist recognizes the natural gas vehicle by just a few details: For example, by the second natural gas nozzle underneath the fuel cap and the two independent fuel gauges for petrol and natural gas in the cockpit. The empty weight increased by 118 kg of 1310 kg naturally reduces the payload. The maximum CNG range is around 330 kilometers. Those who like to step on the gas and are on the go have to go to the petrol station much earlier.
The engine with a maximum torque of 160 Newton meters at 1900 to 3500 rpm is geared towards sensible and careful driving with diligent shifting. The top speed of 180 km / h is only reached after a long start. The standard sprint from 0 to 100 km / h is completed in 12.5 seconds. We usually did not drive faster than 150 km / h and in the third mix we achieved an average consumption of 4.16 kilograms of natural gas for 100 kilometers. Ignore incorrect information from the on-board computer. Škoda specifies CO2 emissions of 95 to 96 grams per kilometer. The corresponding petrol engine is 114 grams, the diesel counterpart comes in less, 106 to 107 grams. The Scala is a beautiful natural gas car that we enjoyed driving. Anyone who decides to buy a new natural gas vehicle will watch the future filling station infrastructure with concern. It is quite possible that natural gas will no longer be available in a few years.