Flexifuel vehicle for ethanol and petrol
The flexifuel car has a combustion engine with a flexible injection system. Any blend of fuel from E85 (85% ethanol and 15% petrol) to 100 % petrol can be used in this car. The car is provided with a sensor that measures the conductivity in the fuel, and thus determines the ratio of the blend. The signals are later sent to a powerful computer that controls injection, ignition time and quantity of air. Injection is increased and substituted with resistant material for large quantities to be injected. The vehicle is basically a standard car. The obvious differences are that engines with only E85 are about 7% more powerful than pure petrol engines, and the fuel consumption increases by 30%, as the energy content pr litre of ethanol is lower. However, the energy is utilised much more effectively. Using ethanol is just as expensive as petrol, despite the fact that the consumption of ethanol is higher. This is because ethanol fuel is cheaper because of low tax.
Environmental class 1
In 1994 three cars were imported from Ford in USA, to show that the technique existed, and that it worked. The interest was enormous and in Feb. 1995, a project was started with 50 Ford Taurus flexifuel in different parts of Sweden. (Umea, Örnsköldsvik, Härnösand, Stockholm, Karlstad, Linköping and Växjö) OK was the only oil company that decided on building ethanol pumps. Flexifuel cars are certified in environmental class 1 in Sweden both for ethanol and petrol usage. This is the same for 100% petrol as well. 85% of fuel (ethanol) is renewable and is part of the natural cycle of carbon dioxide.
The aim of the project was to:
Initiate and stimulate an extended market for flexifuel vehicles in Sweden
Build Europe's first tanking facility for flexifuel vehicles
Contribute to the technological development of the usage of engine alcohols
Establish bio ethanol as an alternative fuel for cars in Sweden
Stimulate the development of Swedish produced bio ethanol
Play a vital role in contributing to the reduction of carbon dioxide in Sweden and globally
(This part of the project is documented in a report published by KFB)
The project went further with the import of 300 vehicles during 1997-1998. It was well spread and an infrastructure for 40 tanking facilities was built. This part has not been reported in the same way, although there has been no state grant for follow up and research. Research by students from Umeå and Östersund have been conducted under the direction of BAFF.
Potential for used cars
Before the Ford Focus flexifuel came to Sweden, there was only one model of mass produced cars that could be driven on a high blend of ethanol in petrol. It was Ford Taurus flexifuel, a car in the same category as the Volvo S80 and Saab 95. Since the project is coming to an end, cars are being returned back by project participants to new owners. There are totally 353 Ford Taurus that were part of the flexifuel project and via Carstedts Bil in Örsköldsvik and Umea, cars are being offered to companies and private people in a new project.
Sweden's first ethanol cars are now second hand. Companies and the public are now being offered the possibility of partaking in an environmental project that involves the leasing or rental at an attractive price. The leasing contract states that the client must tank a minimum of 75 % ethanol, send in a driver's logbook every month and also keep the decal on the car.
- Ford dealers says that there is an enormous interest for these cars, but one must always emphasize and point out the environmental aspects. They also added that there is a Ford Taurus flexifuel for a rental and the contract can be broken if and when you switch over to a Focus flexifuel.
- Today you can have an ethanol car in any part of Sweden. There are about 60 filling stations for ethanol and it is only in the inland and villages of northern Sweden that lacks this facility.
(If you are interested you can contact Carstedts Bil telephone no. 0660-79000)
Ford is concentrating on Sweden with a large investment on flexible fuel small cars
Before the summer, there should be 4000 fuel flexible Ford Focus cars booked by flexifuel enthusiasts around the country. This is the goal of the Swedish flexifuel-Buyer Consortium, which was formed by the initiative of the Environmental Technical Delegation, an extended arm of BAFF's flexifuel project.
- Charlie Ryden, the project leader has no doubt that the goal of selling 4000 vehicles can be reached. The greatest pressure will be in the area of Stockholm and in a period of five weeks we will spread the message and enrol new members.
- He also adds that many people get in touch after reading the articles in different forms of media. With the help of marketing campaigns the project can progress and discussions about new rules from EU regarding an ethanol blend has no negative impact.
- "Now it is up to us to evoke the interest of the people to attain the goal", says Charlie Ryden. The flexifuel model of Ford Focus has two different models, one the station wagon and the other is the five-door coupe. An interesting factor is that the price of the car for the consortium members is SEK 5000 less than the petrol version of the same model.
Higher standards within EU
Volvo V70-S70, the most sold car in Sweden emits 205gms of fossil carbon dioxide per km. The car industry in Western Europe and EU have agreed that cars sold in Europe by 2008 should not emit more than 140gms of fossil carbon dioxide per km. 2012 the figure should be as low as 120gms. The car industry and the environmental authorities are aware that this goal cannot be reached without a technical advantage.
During recent years, the focus on conversion of hydrogen gas into electricity has taken a tremendous pace. Hydrogen is difficult to store and hence it is being produced in the vehicle from hydrocarbons, such as methanol, ethanol and petrol. Although the development is rapid, one does not have to wait for it since ethanol is an excellent fuel both for Otto engines and fuel cells.