Brazil has long been a leader in the use of ethanol as an automotive fuel. Unlike the United States where corn is the dominant source for ethanol, Brazil mainly uses sugar cane as source. US market flex-fuel cars are generally set up to run on blend of straight gasoline to E85. In Brazil, they'll be doing the U.S. one better (actually 15 percent better) now that Honda has developed a new flex fuel system for introduction to the Brazilian market where the cars are tuned for E20 to E100. The Honda system measures the exhaust to determine the concentration of ethanol in the fuel tank. They have tuned the system to try and achieve comparable performance and economy from E100 as compared to gasoline. These cars will very likely be running on mostly ethanol most of the time as opposed to US market cars which almost never see ethanol. The system will be available in both the Fit and the Civic.
Honda Press Release after the jump.
[Source: Honda Motor Co.]
Honda Develops Flexible Fuel Vehicle (FFV) System For Introduction in Brazil in 2006
TOCHIGI, Japan 09/25/2006 -- Honda Motor Co., Ltd., today announced that it has developed a new flexible
fuel vehicle (FFV) system that enables gasoline engine-based power plants to
operate on either 100 percent ethanol or a wide range of ethanol-gasoline fuel
Up to now, variations in the ratio of ethanol-to-gasoline have affected low-temperature
startup performance, and caused variations in air-fuel ratio and engine output.
This has made it a challenge to maintain stable dynamic performance, fuel economy
and emissions levels. The new Honda system adapts 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 provides the flexibility to adapt to ethanol-to-gasoline
ratios of between 20 percent and 100 percent, while achieving outstanding fuel
economy and dynamic performance on a par with a 100 percent gasoline-powered
vehicle. In addition, a cold-start system utilizing a secondary fuel tank ensures
reliable starts even at low ambient temperatures.
Bioethanol fuel, as used in Brazil and other countries, is made from plant
sources such as sugar cane. Because plants absorb CO2 via photosynthesis, the
amount of CO2 released into the atmosphere from burning bioethanol fuel does
not increase atmospheric CO2. This makes bioethanol fuel an effective means
to combat global warming as well as an alternative to petroleum.
In late 2006, Honda plans to begin sales of FFVs in Brazil, where bio-ethanol
has gained in popularity.
Engine Specifications (Honda calculations)
1 100% ethanol
2 22% ethanol mixture
Source: Honda Motor Co., Ltd.