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Holden E85 Ethanol Commodore In 2010

By Feann Torr - 5/December/2008

Holden E85 Ethanol Commodore: On sale in 2010
Holden E85 Ethanol Commodore: On sale in 2010

Holden Ecoline
Holden general manager Mark Reuss shows off
the new "Ecoline" brand that will be expanded
with Active Fuel Management in 2009 and now
E85 ethanol power for the Commodore in 2010

Holden Volt
The Volt was recently shown at the Sydney
Motor Show and will arrive in Australia in 2012

Melbourne, Australia — As General Motors most senior employee, CEO Rick Wagoner, met with the US Congress to state the case for tens of billions of dollars in low cost loans, the Australian arm of the global automaker, GM Holden, held a positive end-of-year press conference.

GM Holden's Chairman and Managing Director, Mark Reuss, gave a keynote address to select media that covered topics such as the global financial crisis, the Australian manufacturing industry and the future of Holden in Australia, acknowledging that "There will be trying times."

The GM Holden boss also talked of what's to come, and the big news is that Holden will sell an ethanol-powered Commodore in 2010.

The new flex-fuel Commodore will be E85 compatible, meaning that it can reliably run on an 85% ethanol mix.

When quizzed on whether V6 or V8 models would be E85 compatible, Mr Reuss was evasive but we believe that both V6 and V8 versions will be available in Australia.

The new E85 Commodores will be able to use the E85 fuel blend yet the new Commodores will still run on pure petrol (hence the flex-fuel tag) if no ethanol filling stations are available.

There is a high chance that in 2010 the E85-engined Commodores will the sole option for new car buyers, but because the flex-fuel engines can run on ethanol or normal petrol, the change won't adversely affect drivers who don't have access to ethanol fuel.

Mr Reuss reiterated that Holden had been through many other crises in its 60 year history and the current global downturn will show "Who's got it, and who does not".

He said that by offering buyers the option of filling up with E85 ethanol fuel, Australian motorists could replace foreign oil with "alternatives".

"We'll take leadership with ethanol," stated Mr Reuss, who mentioned that US company Coskata - an alternative fuel technology firm which is developing non-food based methods of producing ethanol - would play a role.

GM has invested in Coskata and formed an alliance with the company which has developed a new method of producing ethanol fuel via anaerobic microbes.

Though highly unlikely, it is nevertheless possible that motorists could one day fill up their Commodores with General Motors or even Holden-branded fuel if Coskata can bring to market a cost-effective petrol alternative.

Alternative fuel technologies shouldn't just be for the rich, stated GM Holden's chief, who added that ethanol-powered Commodores would not be no more expensive than their petrol-only counterparts.

As well as the introduction of the new ethanol-powered Commodore in 2010, another announcement made during the end-of-year event was that the Volt electric car would arrive in Australia in 2012, and would be badged a Holden.

The "Holden Volt" has a certain ring to it, and will help the Australian car maker compete with Japanese and European rivals planning on launching their own EVs (electric vehicle) in the coming years.

The idea of a Commodore hybrid is looking less likely in Holden's future however. Holden boss Mark Reuss was luke-warm when questioned on the subject of hybrids, saying they cost a lot , "But they drive the technology in the right direction."

Mr Reuss agreed that there will be big changes ahead for US parent company General Motors, but that GM Holden was on good footing and has plans to reinvent the brand, saying the new initiatives are "only the start of our plans".

As well as praising the Rudd Government for its manufacturing initiatives, saying that "Kevin Rudd and Kim Carr have stepped up," GM Holden's Managing Director said that Holden could indeed manufacture a 4-cylinder car in Australia after being questioned on the subject.

Reuss added that Holden could hypothetically make a small 4-cylinder car in South Australia and that it could be profitable, but nothing has been confirmed.

With ethanol Commodores on the way, along with the Holden Volt EV due to arrive in 2012, GM Holden is confident of making big strides beyond 2009. 

The next few years will be a crucial time for the local car industry and it will interesting to see if Australian motorists embrace ethanol fuels.

Though there are clouds surrounding the automotive industry at present, there are also rays of light breaking through the gloom.

Related Links:
Holden AFM V8 + EcoLine (2009)
Holden Commodore 30th Anniversary (2008)
Holden Calais V Sportwagon (Road Test)
- Holden Celebrates 7 Million Cars (2008)
- Holden Sportwagon (Road Test)
- Holden VE Commodore - Dual-Fuel LPG (2006)
Holden Commodore Hybrid (2010)
Holden Coupe 60 Concept (2008)
Holden Commodore Diesel (2009)
Holden VE Ute: SS vs SV6 (Road Test)
Holden Captiva Diesel (Road Test)
Holden Astra Diesel (Road Test)
Holden VE Ute (First Drive)
Holden Coupe 60 Concept (2008)
Holden Commodore Diesel (2009)

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