On September 28, Toyota will unveil the first vehicle fueled by flex fuel in India. The vehicle that will be presented at this occasion will be a hybrid Toyota Corolla, which is already available for purchase in countries like Brazil where the design has been modified to operate on ethanol-blended gasoline. Nitin Gadkari, the Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways, will introduce the vehicle during a ceremony in Delhi.
The minister said that he will introduce India's first flex-fuel vehicle in September while speaking at the 62nd annual session of the Automotive Component Manufacturers Association (ACMA) on September 14.
According to sources, the Corolla sedan from the most recent generation will be displayed in India. The vehicle is propelled by a powerful hybrid system and a 2.0-liter petrol engine from Toyota that can operate on E85 ethanol.
The Corolla that will be on display in India will be a left-hand-drive version of the one that is sold in Brazil. Similar to the hydrogen-powered Toyota Mirai that Toyota India unveiled in March 2022, it will serve as a technology demonstration for Toyota in India.
Brazil and India will collaborate on flex-fuel technologies:
The Brazilian ambassador to India, Andre Aranha Correa Do Lago, announced at the SIAM annual convention that his nation would collaborate with India on flex-fuel technology as well as other fuels like sustainable aviation fuels and hybrid flex-fuel vehicles. This follows Gadkari's call for automakers to create flex-fuel vehicles. He stated, Among other sustainable projects, Brazil and India may work together to advance flex-fuel technology, fuel cells, second-generation ethanol, ethanol as a global commodity, and flex-fuel hybrid automobiles.
Given that the South American country is a pioneer in flex-fuels and has required ethanol-blended fuel since the late 1970s, the Brazilian ambassador's comment is noteworthy. Additionally, the nation is the world's second-biggest producer of ethanol, the greatest producer being the US. Brazil's knowledge would therefore significantly advance India's prospects for ethanol-blend fuel.
Flex-fuel engines: what are they?
An internal combustion engine that can run on many fuel types and mixtures is known as a flex-fuel engine. Typically, a mixture of gasoline and ethanol or methanol is used, and owing to changes like a fuel composition sensor and appropriate ECU programming, the engine is capable of automatically adapting for any ratio.
Flex-fuel engines, which can run on 100% petrol or 100% ethanol, are already in use in nations including Brazil, the USA, and Canada.
India now produces ethanol-blended gasoline with a doping level of around 10%, and this year the government accelerated its goal to manufacture 20% ethanol-blended gasoline by two years, from 2025 to 2023. (E20). A successful E20 program can save India over US $4 billion (more than Rs 30,000 crore) each year, according to industry experts speaking at a SIAM-organized Master Class on Usage of Higher Blends of Ethanol in Transportation on August 26, 2022.
Nitin Gadkari, a union minister, is also eager for flex-fuel vehicles to be sold in India soon. A flex-fuel car is one that can manage a variable and higher blend, often up to 85%, whereas today's petrol vehicles can tolerate a blend of up to 15% ethanol. Brazil also has a well-established market for flex-fuel cars, with numerous models being offered by manufacturers like Toyota and Fiat.
According to different official figures, India is a country with surpluses of both corn and sugar, which may both be used to make ethanol. Gadkari has thus been advocating for ethanol-blend petrol for a long time. The Brazilian official agreed, stating that Brazil and India are the two biggest producers of sugarcane and have the capacity to manufacture vast quantities of ethanol.
India may thus learn from Brazil's experience and avoid global dangers like the conversion of agricultural land used for food production to crops used for fuel.
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