Today, Mitsubishi let loose information about the future of their alternative fuel strategy, both in the U.S. and abroad. Although diesel powerplants are under development, the automaker has announced that flexible fuel vehicles will be made available in Brazil later this year, while customers in the States can expect FFVs sometime in 2009.

Our Brazilian brothers will be able to fill up on gasoline, ethanol or a mixture of the two when the engines are launched, however no information was given about what vehicles would benefit from the new powertrain.

Mitsubishi explains in their press release (available after the jump) that the FFV system uses a series of sensors to measure the amount of oxygen in the exhaust gases, and then modifies both the spark timing and fuel mixture to allow for a blend of ethanol -- anywhere between zero and 100%. This allows users to get the same performance expected from a traditional gasoline engine, along with similar emissions and fuel consumption.

[Source: Mitsubishi Motors Corporation]

PRESS RELEASE

Mitsubishi Motors to develop and launch flexible fuel vehicle (FFV)

Brazil market FFV launch scheduled for 2007; US market models in development

Tokyo, January 22, 2007 - Mitsubishi Motors Corporation (MMC) today announced plans to launch a flexible fuel vehicle (FFV) in the Brazil market within fiscal 2007. The Company also announced that models are in development for the US market for a fiscal 2009 launch.

One of MMC's design objectives is to create vehicles that meet the requirements of the Century of the Environment. This can be seen in the MiEV (Mitsubishi innovative electric vehicle), a next generation electric car that is a core element in the company's environmental technology strategy, and can also be seen in the next generation diesel engine that is now under development. In addition to these initiatives, MMC and its local manufacturing and sales unit, MMC Automotores do Brasil Ltda. (MMCB) have been developing a flexible fuel vehicle for the Brazil market. The FFV can run on gasoline, ethanol, or a mixture of the two, and will be launched in the Brazil market within fiscal 2007. Practical FFV solutions are also in development for the US market, where a fiscal 2009 launch is planned.

The FFV system utilizes oxygen concentration sensors to measure the concentration of oxygen in exhaust gas passing through an ordinary exhaust system. This information enables the concentration of ethanol in the fuel to be inferred, so that the amounts of fuel injected and the ignition spark timing can be optimized. As a result, the engine can handle gasoline-ethanol fuel mixtures with proportions of ethanol between 0% and 100%. The overall design achieves dynamic (engine) performance and environmental performance (fuel consumption and exhaust emissions) on a par with gasoline vehicles.

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