With its unbeatable price at the pump, ethanol, or E85, is attracting more and more French motorists.
If sales of units for vehicles already in circulation explode, new vehicles already approved were very rare.
A situation that could be reversed, with the emergence of compatible novelties.
What is E85 Ethanol?
Super Ethanol, Ethanol or E85 is a gasoline type fuel that contains between 65% and 85% bioethanol by volume, the remainder being unleaded 95 gasoline.
In July 2020, there were more than 1,850 service stations offering this fuel. Bioethanol produced in France avoids 1 million tonnes of CO2 per year and reduces fine particle emissions by 90% compared to gasoline.
In return, it benefits from a very low price per liter, around 66 euro cts per liter.
The buyer of a compatible vehicle gives access to certain advantages such as a cheaper registration card or the 40% reduction in CO2 emissions in the calculation of the ecological penalty.
Ford the precursor
When in the spring of 2019, Ford France decided to market a version of its Kuga, a compact SUV, running on bioethanol, it was a tidal wave.
As the model in question enters the home stretch of its career and its seventh year on the market, dealers suddenly can't follow.
The buyer of Kuga, who prefers diesel 70% of the time, suddenly starts buying Kuga E85s.
Such a success that 90% of Ford Kugas sold in France are then sold in this version, forcing the importer to stock up on a model that was hardly sold anymore.
A very limited offer …
Yet when the American manufacturer renewed its Kuga at the start of the year, the Flexifuel version stood out with its absence from the catalog.
By changing its appearance, the new Kuga has also changed its engine and the 4-cylinder 1.5 Ecoboost is replaced by a 3-cylinder engine, which is not intended to run on E85.
When asked, the manufacturer confirms that it is studying and working on the development of other E85 engines in the range, but nothing is planned by the end of the year.
Proposing a model compatible with this fuel indeed requires strengthening certain parts and proceeding with new approvals.
A complexity that could have slowed down other manufacturers, who take time to react.
Ethanol hybrid, the future?
The English Land Rover announces the arrival of Discovery Sport and Range Rover Evoque compatible.
The originality of these models will be the possibility of running on E85 in a hybrid.
This unique solution allows energy-intensive vehicles to run cleaner while achieving great savings at the pump.
An argument put forward by the brand which recalls that a vehicle consuming 7l / 100 km, using the E85, saves 450 € per year for 13,000 kms traveled, despite fuel consumption up to 25% higher in ethanol mode.
A solution for the big penalties
This technology, coupled with MHEV hybridization, will be available on P200 engines, 200hp petrol.
By offering this technology on vehicles starting at € 45,860 for the Land Rover Discovery Sport Flexfuel Hybrid, and € 46,050 for the Range Rover Evoque Flexfuel Hybrid, the English manufacturer is bringing ethanol into premium.
A solution that allows a miracle: Land Rover Discovery and Range Rover Evoque thus equipped will be exempt from ecological penalties.
Compatible used models
In addition to the Ford Kuga, several models compatible with the E85 have been released on the French market.
This is the case of the Volkswagen Golf Multifuel launched in 2015, but also of the Dacia Hi-Flex, Ford Flexifuel, Opel Flexfuel, Peugeot Bioflex, Renault Bioéthanol, Saab Biopower and Volvo Flexifuel.
It is possible to find these models originally equipped on the second-hand market.