Every passing day, the pollution levels and the price of conventional fuels are rising. In an attempt to control both of these problems, the Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways, Nitin Gadkari, is on high alert. Recently, the minister announced that on the 29th of August, he will be launching an all-new Toyota Innova Hycross model that will run entirely on ethanol. For those unaware, ethanol is one of the most promising alternative biofuels that the minister has been pushing the country to use.
As of yet, the exact details about the powertrain of this upcoming Innova Hycross have not been revealed. However, most likely, the same petrol engine in the outgoing Toyota Innova Hycross will be retrofitted to run on 100 percent ethanol. Back in October of last year, Toyota launched a pilot project on Flexi-Fuel Strong Hybrid Electric Vehicle Technology in Delhi. Under this new project, the automaker also unveiled a Toyota Corolla Altis FFV-SHEV, imported from Brazil. It is anticipated that this Innova Hycross could utilize the same technology.
During the recent Mint Sustainability Summit, Nitin Gadkari stated, “On August 29, I am going to launch the popular (Toyota) Innova car on 100 percent ethanol.” According to the minister and the automaker, this new Innova Hycross will become the world’s first BS-VI (Stage-II) electrified flex-fuel vehicle. The MoRTH minister stated during the meet that as the country’s petrol prices rose in 2004, he took an interest in biofuels and traveled to Brazil to understand more about this fuel.
He added that Brazil and the US were the two countries with the highest ethanol production and consumption rates at the time. Gadkari elaborated that ethanol is used to power more than 70 percent of automobiles in Brazil. He also added that using flex-fueled cars can help the country save a ton of money that is currently being spent on importing fossil fuels from other countries. Gadkari stated, “If we want to become Atmanirbhar (self-reliant), we have to bring this oil import to zero. At present, it is Rs 16 lakh crore. This is a big loss to the economy.”
Next, the minister added, “We have taken a lot of (sustainability) initiatives, but we need to take more because pollution is a problem. Ecology and the environment are very important. We need to reduce air and water pollution. We have to improve the quality of water in our rivers. This is a big challenge. We need to protect our ecology and environment.”
What is ethanol?
Coming back to ethanol, for those who might not be aware of this alternative biofuel, ethanol is one of the most promising renewable and eco-friendly fuels. It is made from by-products of plants like corn or sugarcane. The government is promoting it to become an alternative to petrol and diesel. This biofuel can help in reducing harmful emissions and our dependence on fossil fuels.
Another benefit of ethanol is that it has a higher octane rating, which can enhance engine performance and efficiency. Additionally, its production supports local agriculture and reduces greenhouse gas emissions, making it a greener choice. However, on the downside, it contains a little less energy when compared to other fossil fuels, leading to slightly lower fuel efficiency.