Toyota to unveil first flex-fuel car in India on September 28


Toyota will unveil the first flex-fuel car in India on September 28. The car to be unveiled at this event will be a Toyota Corolla Hybrid currently for sale in markets such as Brazil where the model is tuned to be used with ethanol blended fuel. Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari will unveil the car at an event in Delhi.

Speaking at the 62nd annual meeting of the Automotive Component Manufacturers Association (ACMA) on Sept. 14, the minister said he would unveil India’s first flex-fuel car in September. Despite saying it will be a Camry with flex-fuel technology, Autocar India has confirmed it will be a Corolla hybrid instead.

Sources have said that the model to be presented in India will be the latest generation of the Corolla sedan. The car is powered by Toyota’s 2.0-litre petrol engine, which can run on E85 ethanol, along with strong hybrid technology.

The model on display in India will be the one sold in Brazil, meaning it will be a left-hand drive Corolla. It is used as a technology demonstrator for Toyota in India, similar to that The hydrogen-powered Toyota Mirai was unveiled in India in March 2022.

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Brazil is working with India on flex fuel technology
At the SIAM annual meeting, move on to Gadkari’s call to automakers On the development of flex-fuel vehicles, Brazilian Ambassador to India Andre Aranha Correa Do Lago said his country will work with India on flex-fuel technology, as well as other fuels such as sustainable aviation fuels and flex-fuel hybrid vehicles. He said: “Brazil and India can join forces to work towards flex-fuel technology, fuel cells, second-generation ethanol, ethanol as a global good and flex-fuel hybrid vehicles, among other sustainable initiatives.

The Brazilian ambassador’s statement is significant given that the South American nation is a leader in flex fuels, having mandated ethanol blended fuel as far back as the late 1970s. The country is also the second largest ethanol producer in the world, with the US being the largest. Therefore, Brazil’s expertise would go a long way in advancing India’s ethanol blended fuel plans.

What are flex fuel engines?
A flex fuel engine is an internal combustion engine that can run on more than one type of fuel, including one mixture. Typically, a mixture of gasoline and ethanol or methanol is used, and the engine can automatically adjust to either ratio thanks to modifications like a fuel composition sensor and proper ECU programming.

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Flex-fuel engines can run on 100 percent gasoline or ethanol and are already available in countries like Brazil, the United States and Canada.

India already has ethanol-blended gasoline with a doping content of around 10 percent, and last year the government brought forward its target by two years – from 2025 to 2023 – to produce 20 percent ethanol-blended gasoline (E20). At a masterclass on the use of higher ethanol blends in transportation, organized by SIAM on August 26, 2022, industry experts said a A successful E20 program can save India around US$4 billion (over Rs.30,000) per year.

Union minister Nitin Gadkari is also keen on putting flex-fuel vehicles on sale in India soon. While today’s gasoline vehicles can handle a blend of up to 15 percent ethanol, a flex-fuel vehicle is one that can handle a different and higher blend, typically up to 85 percent. Again, Brazil has a well-developed market for flex-fuel vehicles, with manufacturers such as Toyota and Fiat offering multiple models.

According to various government statistics, India is both a sugar and corn surplus nation, both of which can be used to produce ethanol. As a result, Gadkari has long been pushing for ethanol blended fuel. The Brazilian official also echoed this sentiment, saying, “Brazil and India are the two largest sugarcane producers and have the potential to produce tremendous amounts of ethanol.”

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Thus, Brazil’s experience is something that India can capitalize on and also avoid pitfalls that have occurred around the world, such as diverting agricultural land to the production of fuels.

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Andre Aranha Correa Do Lago, Ambassador of Brazil to India: “Brazil and India can work together to work towards flex-fuel technology, fuel cells, second-generation ethanol, ethanol as a global good, and flex-fuel hybrid vehicle initiatives, among others.”









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