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Flex-fuel Cars: a Brazilian Mania Wins the World

Cheaper motoring is high on the agenda for most motorists. Combine that with cleaner fuel and enhanced performance and you’ve got the dream car.

Brazil’s new generation of cars and trucks adapted to run on alcohol has just hit the two-million mark, motor industry figures show.  "Flex-fuel" vehicles, which run on any combination of ethanol and gas, now make up 77% of the Brazilian market.

Brazil has pioneered the use of ethanol derived from sugar-cane as motor fuel. Ethanol-driven cars have been on sale in the country for 25 years, but they have been enjoying a revival since flex-fuel models first appeared in March 2003.

In Great Britain. Green Fuels, based near Malmesbury in Wiltshire, is offering a large matchbox sized gizmo which changes an ordinary petrol driven car into a clean one by converting it to run on bio-ethanol E85.

One end of the Fullflex Gold Bi-Fuel Manager plugs into the vehicle’s engine management unit while the other is attached to the injectors. Once fitted – an hour long job for a mechanic – the vehicle can run on 100 per cent bio-ethanol E85, unleaded gas or a mix of both.

The results are reduced emissions, cheaper fuel and a power boost.

Bio-ethanol is seen as the way forward towards more environmentally friendly motoring. Both Ford and Saab have recently launched FlexiFuel cars while over 9000 such vehicles have been sold in Scandinavia in the last few months.

And Morrison’s supermarket chain is leading the way in the UK with bio-ethanol pumps on forecourts in Norfolk and Somerset where the fuel is 2p per liter cheaper than premium unleaded.

The Fullflex Manager costs between £450 and £550, dependent on the number of cylinders, and is available from Green Fuels which is the sole distributor for the UK and the rest of Europe.

Mercopress

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