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India to get its first flex-fuel car by Toyota tomorrow

India will get its first flex-fuel vehicle tomorrow, September 28. In an event earlier this month, Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari had announced that he will unveil the car at an event in Delhi on September 28. Gadkari had announced that he will kick off a trial project involving Toyota’s new car that will be powered by flex-fuel.

However, neither carmaker Toyota nor the minister has reveled the car model name, but several reports suggest that Toyota may introduce either Hybrid Camry or the Corolla in the Indian market. Toyota sell these hybrid flex-fuel car model in another major sugar-producing country — Brazil.

The Japanese carmaker sells these car models in the international markets that is powered by a 2.0-litre petrol engine and is capable of running on E85 ethanol.

India plans to produce E20 flex fuel (80 per cent petrol, 20 per cent ethanol) by 2023. As per the new regulation car makers will be compelled to manufacture engines meeting that standards. The ‘National Policy on Biofuels’ notified by the Government in 2018 envisaged an indicative target of 20% ethanol blending in petrol by year 2030. However, considering the encouraging performance since 2014, the target of 20% ethanol blending was advanced.

What is flex-fuel, or flex-fuel engines?

Flex-fuel compatible cars can run on more than one type of fuel, and also a mixture. Typically, a blend of petrol and ethanol or methanol is used. The engine is capable of automatically adjusting for any ratio, thanks to modifications like a fuel composition sensor. Flex-fuel engines are capable of running on up to 85 percent petrol or ethanol and are already available in countries such as Brazil, the US and Canada.

While today’s petrol vehicles can handle a blend of up to 15 percent ethanol, a flex-fuel vehicle can handle a varied and higher blend, typically up to 85 percent.

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