Volvo Goes Green: BioEthanol 'FlexiFuel' Cars Launched in Europe
Motoring Channel Staff - 16/Nov/2006
Volvo Bioethanol FlexiFuel Cars
France plans to have 500 fuel stations supplying
E85 (85% ethanol) fuel part-way through 2007,
which in itself will increase interest in the fuel
Volvo's bioethanol cars emit 80% less carbon
dioxide than similarly engined petrol power cars,
making them much 'greener' than most vehicles
Trollhättan, Sweden — Yesterday we published an article about BMW's next generation low emissions vehicle, the forward-looking BMW Hydrogen 7, powered by a hydrogen V12 engine.
now we've got more 'green' car news from Europe - this time from
Swedish car maker Volvo, which is releasing bioethanol powered cars in
nine new markets.
These new bioethanol models include the C30 luxury hatchback, the S40 small saloon and the V50 small estate.
Volvo explains, it is launching 'FlexiFuel' models powered by renewable
bioethanol on several European markets in the Northern autumn
(Australian Spring). Furthermore, the new green model range is
also being extended in Europe and even Volvo's new C30 will be offered
with eco-optimised FlexiFuel power.
"Interest in ethanol as a
vehicle fuel is growing in Europe," said Gerry Keaney, the senior vice
president of marketing, sales and customer Service at Volvo Cars.
are therefore expanding our range with additional models on a total of
nine markets. First to get Volvo's FlexiFuel cars outside Sweden will
be Britain, Ireland, France, Spain, the Netherlands, Belgium,
Switzerland and Norway," said Keaney.
And the next generation clean fuel movement, it seems, has begun.
are now hybrids from Toyota, Lexus, and Honda, bioethanol cars from
Volvo and Saab and of course BMW's cutting-edge hydrogen powered cars
now available to the public - and it won't be long before almost all
car makers have some sort of 'green' car, as more and drivers demand
environmentally friendly personal transport.
encouraging that the market is expanding and that political initiatives
are being taken," added Gerry Keaney.
France has announced
that the country will build 500 fuel stations for E85 (a blend of 85%
renewable ethanol and 15% petrol) in 2007. The fuel will be produced
locally from agricultural products and there are, at present, 23 plants
producing ethanol in Europe and this figure is expected to rise to just
over 60 in 2008.
In total, about 1.8 million litres of
ethanol are produced annually within the European Union, primarily from
sugar-beet and various grains, and estimates suggest that capacity in
the EU is expected to increase threefold by 2008.
recognised as a style leader in the automotive world, and increasingly
it's becoming a technology leader with more and more solutions being
sought to reduce the effects of global warning and environmental damage.
Expanded FlexiFuel Range
has revealed that three of it's nine models – the brand new C30
hatchback, the S40 sedan and V50 wagon – are now available in an
environmentally optimised FlexiFuel alternative. The Swedish company
explains that they are powered by a new 4-cylinder (naturally
aspirated) engine producing 92kW of power (125hp).
and petrol are both filled in the same 55 litre tank, as the fuel
hoses, valves and gaskets have all been modified to withstand the more
corrosive properties of ethanol. Using high levels of ethanol in
traditional combustion engines designed to run on gasoline can often
corrode rubber-based hoses and other materials, but Volvo's new
engine's are purpose built to handle a lifetime of ethanol fuel,
featuring uprated fuel pipes, hoses and seals.
valves have been reinforced and are also larger, since more fuel is
injected into the engine because of the lower energy content of E85
compared with petrol. Moreover, the software calibration is updated for
ethanol power and the engine management system precisely monitors the
fuel mixture in the fuel tank and automatically adjusts both injection
and ignition to suit.
Volvo Cars predicts sales of 7,000
FlexiFuel cars in 2007, and most are expected to be sold in Sweden.
Because Volvo is a Ford-owned company, the possibilities of Ford
exporting such technology to markets beyond Europe in the next decade
Ethanol is an entirely
renewable fuel and can, in principle, be produced from just about any
biomass source, such as corn, wheat, sugar-beet and cellulose says
Volvo. If the car is run on E85, which is the fuel available at the
pumps, emissions of fossil carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, drop by up
to 80% compared with the same car running only on petrol.
renewable fuel will not on its own be able to replace today’s
fossil fuels, and the range of alternative fuels will probably be far
wider in the future. Many different fuels and technologies will
therefore be developed in parallel. Ethanol reduces dependency on
fossil fuels and Volvo's FlexiFuel programme thus makes a vital
contribution to our strategy of environmental sustainability,"
concluded Gerry Keaney.
Engine: 4-cylinder petrol/E85 engine
Gearbox: 5-speed manual
Max power: 92kW (125hp)
Max torque: 165Nm @ 4000rpm
0-100 km/h sprint: 10.8s (C30), 10.9s (S40), 11.0s (V50)
Top speed: 200km/h
Fuel consumption: litres/100km (petrol power): 7.3 (C30), 7.4 (S40), 7.4 (V50)
Carbon dioxide emissions: CO2 g/km (petrol power): 174 (C30), 177 (S40), 177 (V50)
fuel consumption and carbon dioxide emissions: the figures relate to
running on 100% petrol (the certification fuel). Fuel consumption when
running on E85 bioethanol is about 40% higher since the energy content
of ethanol is lower than that of petrol.
- Volvo C30 Hatchback
- BMW Hydrogen 7 Car
- Honda Civic Hybrid: Road Test
- Lexus GS450h Hybrid: Road Test