Up to this point, Toyota has been far and away the leader in bringing hybrid drive-train technology to the automotive market place. They have also produced many very efficient conventionally powered vehicles to market. They have even produced full plug-in electric vehicles, although they did take those back and dispose of them much like GM and other car-makers did with theirs. The one area they have so far avoided is ethanol power and flex-fuel vehicles.

That is now changing, at least in the Brazilian market. Brazil has long been a proponent of ethanol as a fuel where it's produced from sugar cane. Ethanol at the pump is widely available in Brazil and there are many vehicles in that market that are capable of running on either straight ethanol or a blend of gasoline and ethanol. Toyota has confirmed that they will be bringing a vehicle to market in Brazil in the Spring of 2007, that is capable of running on E100 or any combination of gasoline and ethanol.

Toyota has begun trials of gas-to-liquid (GTL) fuel cars in Europe. In GTL, a very clean diesel fuel is produced from natural gas. The process is similar to the one for producing diesel from coal although cars running on GTL fuel produce fewer particulate emissions. Although GTL is expensive, it could become a desirable fuel in large cities were diesel particulate emissions are becoming a major health hazard.

[Source: CNET News.com]


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