OK, what’s an FFV? It’s actually a Flexi-fuel Vehicle, and it comes to us in the form of a Ford Focus wagon. Cool, fi rst a fl exi fuel vehicle, now it’s a wagon. Any more good news? Well, yes. Ford also has a diesel version of the Focus wagon for those not into this FFV stuff. But what IS this FFV stuff? Right — it’s all about bio fuels. Ford’s FFVs are capable of running on a fuel blend known as E85 (85% bio-ethanol and 15% petrol), petrol only or any mix of both.
The use of bio-ethanol, in combination with FFV technology, can lead to a 70% to 80% reduction in overall carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions compared to a traditional petrol engine. Currently, fuel blends of up to 10% ethanol (E10) are permitted in New Zealand but are not readily available for sale despite many new vehicles (including almost all of Ford’s vehicle range) having the capacity to run on E10 fuel.
Over the past months, Ford has worked extensively with the Energy Effi ciency and Conservation Authority (EECA) and Gull New Zealand to receive a Controlled Release Permit for E85 fuel under the HZNO Regulations to manufacture and distribute suffi cient quantities of E85 bio-ethanol fuel to run this vehicle in the 2006 Energy Wise Rally in November.
Bio-ethanol is a renewable fuel derived from plants (such as cereals and sugar beet), biomass (such as wood waste) or, in New Zealand’s case, whey as a by-product of the dairy industry’s milk processing.
The ethanol currently produced at Fonterra’s Anchor plants is used for industrial purposes and in beverages such as gin, vodka and Ready-To-Drink pre-mixed drinks. Approximately half of the ethanol produced by Fonterra is used in New Zealand and the balance is exported, mainly to Australia and Asia, with some to the Middle East.
In addition to providing CO2 benefi ts, the Focus FlexiFuel improves air quality with lower levels of emissions such as nitrous oxide than many conventional petrol vehicles. All told, this means Ford offers petrol, diesel, LPG dedicated and now bio-fuel for its vehicles. That’s gotta be fuel for thought!