There are drawbacks to every kind of alternative to burning fossil fuels in our cars. Electric cars don't have enough range.Hybrids are burdened with what essentially boils down to two parallel powertrains. Hydrogen is limited to where it is available. Bio-ethanol has its own drawbacks, but don't tell that to the performance enthusiast. That's because E85 – similar to what IndyCars run on but mixed with 15% pump gasoline – is not only a renewable and cleaner source of energy, it also provides more power.

Take the Koenigsegg Agera R, for example. With 927 horsepower on tap from ordinary 95-octane gasoline, the Koenigsegg is already one of the fastest, most powerful cars money can buy. But fill it with E85 and it offers up almost 1,100 hp. Now a Norwegian firm is offering an aftermarket bio-ethanol conversion for the Ferrari FF that provides a similar transformation.

Whereas the stock FF (which could now just as easily stand for Flex Fuel) already drives a prodigious 650 horsepower to all four wheels, the converted version packs a whopping 875 hp for a sub-three-second sprint to sixty, all the while dropping the car's emissions figures by some 80%. The conversion costs just €1500 (less than $2k) – rather insignificant considering the FF's $300k+ sticker price – and has reportedly been fitted yb an authorized Ferrari dealer to at least one customer's car, though that doesn't mean it's covered by (and very well might invalidate) the FF's warranty.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 24 Comments
      Jorsher
      • 2 Years Ago
      E85 does not provide more power by volume; it provides a higher knock rating which allows for higher compression/boost which provides more power.
      Elmo
      • 2 Years Ago
      "Whereas the stock FF (which could now just as easily stand for Flex Fuel) already drives a prodigious 650 horsepower to all four wheels..." Nope, not to all four wheels. This system was explained perfectly by Chris Harris over at Autocar's YouTube channel. It's an electronically controlled AWD system with no transfercase (to save on weight) and only switches to AWD when the rear loses traction. 90% of the time, the car is RWD.
        AcidTonic
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Elmo
        Thanks for clarifying. I was curious when I saw it was AWD. Haven't really payed much attention to this car. I wonder if it could still do sub 3s 0-60 without the AWD. (on stock tires too)
        AcidTonic
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Elmo
        Thanks for clarifying. I was curious when I saw it was AWD. Haven't really payed much attention to this car. I wonder if it could still do sub 3s 0-60 without the AWD. (on stock tires too)
      Mike Pulsifer
      • 2 Years Ago
      The front tire is looking a bit flat.
      Krishan Mistry
      • 2 Years Ago
      Bio Ethanol has gotten a terrible reputation because the first generation of its development relies on mashing up foodstock, and it suffers from energy density and engine longevity issues. But what about ethanol produced much cheaper and cleaner through waste plant cellulose, or very compact algae farms? If enough R&D is invested into non-food ethanol, I see no reason why you wouldnt be able to fill up your car in 10 years with 90-100 octane, renewable, carbon neutral (co2 is absorbed by growing plants, cleaning up the air) biofuel for $3 per gallon. And that fuel could have an energy density much higher than E85, too. That way, I can say F*** Middle Eastern blood-oil, but not resort to boring, range limited, expensive electric cars with batteries full of precious metals mined by the Chinese. I'll fuel my 875hp V12 with homegrown corn (husks) and pond slime, and laugh all the way to the bank (and racetrack).
      harbour
      • 2 Years Ago
      Noah forgets, or never knew, the Indycars engines are flushed by running straight gasoline through them after each time they are run due to the damaging effect of their fuel, which he is touting. The natural gas fuels are high in octane and do not have the deleterious effect on the engine and systems. Also, Noah's fuels have had an inflationary effect on food prices due to the amount of corn, etc., removed from the food chain (cattle feed, etc.). Why are those fuels being touted again?
        TruthHertz
        • 2 Years Ago
        @harbour
        Quote: "Indycars engines are flushed by running straight gasoline through them after each time they are run due to the damaging effect of their fuel" The ethanol is flushed to protect the fuel lines and because the ethanol can absorb water. Not because it is corrosive. Indy engines seldom are used long enough between rebuilds that corrosion is even an issue. Quote: "The natural gas fuels are high in octane and do not have the deleterious effect on the engine and systems" Natural gas would be a good choice, but a rupture of that fuel tank would result in a massive explosion instead of a fire. Quote: "Noah's fuels have had an inflationary effect on food prices" Ethanol doesn't have to come from food sources. Scientists are hard at work to produce cellulose based ethanol and algae based ethanol. Quote: "Why are those fuels being touted again?" The other thing, ethanol is much cheaper than 100+ octane racing fuel and is readily available at many service stations. Seriously dude, I'm not a greenie, but ethanol is doing great in Brazil and they have a substantially better energy situation every time some Arab sheik decides to stir up some crap in the middle east. Also, nobody in the government will allow the US to produce more refineries. Ethanol or another bio fuel doesn't require this process and broader application of the fuel would free up capacity on our already limited refining capacity.
        Jorsher
        • 2 Years Ago
        @harbour
        Fortunately the subsidies were finally stopped. It was a stupid idea from the beginning.
      OctaneNation
      • 2 Years Ago
      If you believe converting a naturally aspirated car to E85 (for only $1500!) will get you a 35% gain in power then you deserve what you get for your $1500. If you're still interested I suggest you start with Tornado Gas Saver Air Management System... http://amzn.to/yucrV4
        Krishan Mistry
        • 2 Years Ago
        @OctaneNation
        You never know, there could be some incredibly high compression pistons under the hood... but $1500 seems kinda cheap then.
      KaiserWilhelm
      • 2 Years Ago
      I thought alcohol was less energy dense than gasoline, how exactly does it provide more power?
        WillieD
        • 2 Years Ago
        @KaiserWilhelm
        Higher octane levels I believe...
        AcidTonic
        • 2 Years Ago
        @KaiserWilhelm
        Knock resistance. I can provide a real simple example of what this means. Spark timing is what controls a large part of the efficiency from combustion. More timing tends to make more power (to a point) and less timing tends to reduce power (to a point). Usually the gasoline itself is what dictates how high the timing can go. For instance a car running 10* may run just fine on 93 octane (premium fuel) and knock on 87 octane. So if you want to run 93 octane you're fine, but to run 87 octane you must lower the timing so it's stable. 93 Octane although having more energy, has a *worse* knock rating. So if I ran an E85 car at 10* and a gasoline car at 10* they would make similar power but the gasoline would be making slightly more. Now the kicker comes in where E85 can run more timing to make more power. So when the gasoline engine starts knocking at 10*, the E85 car can run 14* which produces a much larger amount of horsepower. If the gas engine *could* run 14* without knocking it would make more power, but it can't because it starts knocking above 10* and that's where you're stuck. In reality you would go down to 8 or 9 to allow for a tank of slightly worse gas to be used safely. That's what people mean when they say a tune is "safe" or "extreme". If it's riding the limits of safety it may make more power but one bad tank of gas and BOOM. (Please don't assume my example covers all the laws of engine dynamics either)
          Krishan Mistry
          • 2 Years Ago
          @AcidTonic
          Sorry, but what does the * mean? Degrees of timing? I understand that it refers to the number of degrees before TDC the intake valves are open, but isnt that duration? I thought that higher octane meant able to use higher compression ratios, but how does timing come into effect?
        Matt
        • 2 Years Ago
        @KaiserWilhelm
        You just have to burn a whole lot more of it.
      Redline
      • 2 Years Ago
      Doesn't E85 give less MPG?
        TruthHertz
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Redline
        You are asking about fuel economy for a $300,000.00 car? Really...
          ufgrat
          • 2 Years Ago
          @TruthHertz
          I could get a 10-20% HP boost in my Volvo by switching to E85, but it would reduce the overall fuel economy. E85 doesn't have quite the energy density of "pure" gasoline, so obviously, it takes more to produce the same overall energy output. But turbo-charged vehicles really, really, really love oxygenated fuels like E85.
      Olsparkee
      • 2 Years Ago
      I'm holding off for the bio-neural gel pack versions. Seven of Nine is my co-pilot.
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