Flexible-Fuel Technology (Automobiles)

Honda develops a flexible-fuel automobile capable of using a mixture of gasoline and ethanol in any proportion.

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Honda accelerates popularization of flexible-fuel vehicles in South America

Derived from sugar cane and other plants that have captured their constituent carbon from atmospheric CO2 via photosynthesis, bio-ethanol has no net affect on atmospheric CO2 when burned. For this reason, bio-ethanol is an alternative to fossil fuels and an ally in the fight against global warming. In Brazil, a major growing region for sugar cane, 100% ethanol E100 fuel is available at gas stations.

In Brazil, Honda has offered automobiles running on gasoline-ethanol blends since 1992. Researching flexible-fuel vehicles (FFV) that can run on gasoline and ethanol mixed in any proportion, Honda introduced the Civic FFV and Fit FFV in Brazil in 2006. In the FFVs of the past, variations in the ratio of ethanol-to-gasoline affected low-temperature startup performance and caused variations in air-fuel ratio and engine output. For this reason, it was a challenge to maintain stable dynamic performance, fuel economy and emissions levels. The new Honda system adapted to different ethanol-to-gasoline ratios by estimating the concentration of ethanol in the ethanol-gasoline mix in the fuel tank based on measurements of exhaust gas concentration in the vehicle’s exhaust system. This system provided the flexibility to adapt to ethanol-to-gasoline ratios of between 20% and 100% while achieving outstanding fuel economy and dynamic performance on par with a 100% gasoline-powered vehicle. In addition, a cold-start system utilizing a secondary fuel tank ensured reliable starts even at low ambient temperatures.

In July 2009, Honda began producing and selling the City FFV in Brazil. Today, Honda not only sells this model in Brazil but also exports it from Brazil to other South American Countries and Mexico.

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