Honda shows much wisdom in its approach to the problem of air-pollution, global warming and the diminishing resources of the fossil fuels. It continues to lead studies and experiment with hydrogen technologies, electricity-powered engines and its biofuel cars.
The especial breakthrough in this field was the introduction, in September 2006 of Flex Fuel Vehicle (FFV), using the platform of Civic. The Civic FFV is unique in the sense that it is capable of operating on both E-85, the already available bio-fuel in the US, Sweden, Finland and to a very limited degree in Canada and on 100% ethanol, used far and wide in Brazil. The concept is not new in any way; however it is the Honda’s advanced research and production capabilities that make this vehicle so adaptive to varying fuel mixtures, and ambient temperature changes. FFV’s made in the US are currently setup to run on straight E85, straight gasoline, or any ratio of both fuel types. Honda is introducing an FFV into the Brazilian automobile market suited to run on a much higher blend of ethanol – E20 to E100.
The challenge here is to eventually achieve comparable performance and economy from E100, as from petroleum based gasoline. A factor to consider is the temperature, as low temperatures can contribute to poor starting and performance. And yet Honda manages to fix this problem, by introducing a secondary, gasoline fuel tank. The new Honda ethanol fuel feeder adapts to varying ethanol to gasoline ratios measuring the concentration of ethanol in the tank via time exhaust measurements.
Well, here is the deal. Ethanol, also known by the name of biofuel, is made from feed stocks such as sugar cane and corn. Thus using biofuel does not much increase the atmospheric CO2 and makes the ethanol an effective alternative to fossil fuel. And yet it is the government that has to make use of biofuel more attractive, by dropping the prices, so that cars, such as Honda Civic FFV would be bought not only by the smart people concerned about reducing the carbon footprint, but also by the majority of the population thinking of saving a dollar here and a dollar there. So let’s hope for that!