Cars converting to run on LP gas in South Africa — and getting their own fuel stations

Isinkwe Energies, in partnership with Ergon Equipment and Prins Autogas, has opened the first Autogas fuel site in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN), and it is the first of its kind in South Africa.

Motorists could see fuel savings of more than 40% by switching to a Prins Autogas kit, which costs anywhere north of R25,000 excluding VAT. Kit costs are model dependent.

Installation costs approximately R2,950, excluding VAT.

According to Prins Autogas, liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) systems are substantially greener and cheaper than petrol-powered cars.

MyBroadband spoke to Isinkwe Energies managing director Kyle Hartley, who said the first 50 vehicles had been fitted with the system in KwaZulu-Natal.

“In KZN, we have installed the first 50 vehicles, and the fuel site launched on 15 June 2023,” said Hartley.

“In terms of firsts, on the Autogas tech side, we’re the first company offering Autogas systems in KZN. We are also the first Autogas fuel site in KZN, and the first of its kind in SA.”

Once installed, the kit effectively makes the car a bi-fuel vehicle, meaning it can run on both petrol and gas.

“If the vehicle runs out of gas it automatically turns back to petrol whilst driving,” said Hartley.

In addition to Isinkwe Energies, Ergon Equipment has appointed agents in other provinces in South Africa.

At around R13 per litre, Autogas is currently over 40% cheaper than petrol at the pump if calculated using VAT.

“Gas is subject to VAT, so if working off an ex VAT comparison, Autogas is 49% cheaper than petrol at the current fuel price,” Hartley added.

While the fuel site in KwaZulu-Natal is an LPG filling station, Prins Autogas also offers compressed natural gas (CNG) and liquefied natural gas (LNG) systems.

Hartley said the company is currently investing heavily in the research and development of hydrogen-based systems.

Prins Autogas was founded in 1986 as a designer of alternative fuel systems for LPG, CNG and LNG.

The company has a worldwide service network comprising qualified technicians trained by Prins Autogas. Isinkwe Energies’ technicians received training from the manufacturer.

Isinkwe Energies’ LPG fuel site — the first in KwaZulu-Natal and the first of its kind in South Africa.

Hartley said they can tune cars according to the customer’s preference for economy and performance.

“Our technicians are trained to calibrate and set the system to perform at the same levels as when the vehicle is running on petrol,” said Hartley.

“Based on this, a vehicle can run up to 10% richer on LPG — requiring 0–10% more LPG than petrol to achieve the same range.”

However, he noted that this depends on the vehicle model and several other variables.

Tanks come in various designs, including internal and external cylindrical units and “doughnut” internal tanks. The smallest tank available is 42 litres.

Far from new, Ergon Energies has more than 30 years of experience in the market. Autogas has been in the market for around 80 years.

Prins Autogas offers a vehicle database to let potential customers see if a kit for their particular vehicle model is available.

The company currently offers kits for a broad range of vehicle brands, including:

  • Volkswagen
  • Alfa Romeo
  • Audi
  • BMW
  • Citroen
  • Dodge
  • Fiat
  • Ford
  • Honda
  • Hyundai
  • Isuzu
  • Kia
  • Land Rover
  • Lexus
  • Mazda
  • Mercedes-Benz
  • Nissan
  • Opel
  • Porsche
  • Renault
  • Subaru
  • Suzuki
  • Toyota
  • Volvo

“Regardless of the application — cars, buses, trucks, industrial or marine — we offer a solution for almost all engine types and technologies,” states Prins Autogas.

“We ensure that our systems are in line with the latest developments in the industry through collaboration with our dedicated partners worldwide.”

Images of its Autogas systems, some of the notable vehicles it has converted, and Isinkwe Energies’ fuel site installation are provided below.

Prins Autogas systems and converted vehicles

Various Prins Autogas systems
A cylindrical LP gas tank

42-litre “doughnut” tank
The fuel tank fitted to converted vehicles
Specialised tank inlet
Converted Jeep SUV
Converted Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Z71 in the Netherlands
Installing a Prins Autogas kit on a Volvo SUV
Prins Autogas and Isinkwe Energies technicians tuning a converted vehicle

Isinkwe Energies fuel site

Offloading the LPG tank
Isinkwe Energies’ LPG fuel site

Close-up of a converted Suzuki sedan getting its first fill of LPG
Converted vehicles line up for their first fill on launch day

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Cars converting to run on LP gas in South Africa — and getting their own fuel stations