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Toyota bets on flex fuel vehicles before getting into pure EV

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Japanese auto major Toyota has said there are energy pathways which are unique to India’s strengths and can make the transition, from the use of fossil fuel to ethanol blending, at a more rapid pace and a much larger scale with minimal effort and dependence from outside.

The company, on Tuesday, unveiled the world’s first BS6 (Stage II) Electrified Flex Fuel Vehicle (Innova Hycross) stating that nowhere in the world was there technology with such high compliance. It stressed that India could lead this technology as a big market for new vehicles or new cars because it is also the fastest growing economy and market.

“Going forward, these are going to be needed for the transition to a cleaner future, and, therefore, multiple energy pathways become inevitable for a country like India. There are energy pathways which are unique to India’s strengths and can make the transition happen at a much more rapid pace and larger scale with minimal amount of effort and dependence from outside,” Vikram Gulati, Country Head and Executive Vice-President, Toyota Kirloskar Motor (TKM), told businessline.

Ethanol production

He said India has a big potential towards ethanol production because the feedstock is local and the process industry already exists. The automobile manufacturing ecosystem, which is currently internal combustion engine (ICE), can be readily and easily converted to cleaner fuel.

“The dispensing infrastructure exists, thereby making this a very low hanging fruit, which can also give the additional benefits of converting waste to wealth, not only from the food grains that are wasted, but also from agro waste, such as parali, which is currently being burnt and is a problem for Northern India,” he said.

Gulati said this would also help the industry to develop alternate fuel options before directly going into fully electric-powered vehicles in future, which Toyota is also in the process of making.

“Therefore, this is not only an opportunity for us to transit to a cleaner and more self-reliant future, but also something that can help the growth happen in the rural economies. Going forward, as a country, we are committed to achieving E20 by 2025. In fact, we currently possess a surplus of ethanol beyond what is necessary for E20,” he said.

That is why to realise the potential, India needs technologies which can take higher blends beyond E20, which means flex fuel technologies. Electrified flex fuel technology can have huge potential for India because it brings in flex fuel engine coupled with electric power train, which can move the vehicle on pure EV mode, he added.





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