Recently Toyota Kirloskar Motor (TKM) introduced the planet’s first BS6 (Stage II) electrified flex fuel car through its sustainable mobility aspirations. Innova Hycross, featuring a sturdy hybrid powertrain, serves as the prototype. Shri Nitin Gadkari Ji, Hon’ble Union Minister – Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, attended the unveiling of the Innova Hycross flex-fuel prototype.
Referenced as flex fuel, this alternative energy source is developed from a combination of petrol and ethanol. India OEMs have launched vehicles that run on E20 fuel (20% ethanol-blended petrol). Now, E20 fuel can be purchased at select retail stores. But according to reports, by 2025, the government hopes to have a 20% ethanol blend in place. In preparation for this, oil marketing companies (OMCs) are constructing 2G-3G ethanol plants, which will make the advancement of this process more easier.
Combining a small 2.0-litre Atkinson Cycle petrol engine and an electric motor, the Innova Hycross flex-fuel prototype mimics the Innova Hycross Hybird. According to Toyota, the capability of the standard model is notable, even when utilized with ethanol-blended fuel. As per the company, this prototype conforms to BS6 Phase II requirements and can operate on petrol combined with ethanol at higher concentrations than 20%.
According to Toyota, the problem with flex-fuel vehicles is that ethanol has an extremely lower energy density compared to petrol, which results in a lower fuel efficiency. To tackle the challenge, globally introduced are electrified flex-fuel vehicles, which represent advanced green technology.
Utilizing the electric powertrain in combination with the engine overcomes this challenge. It will also enhance fuel efficiency, as in the case of an SHEV running 40 percent of the distance and 60 percent of the time in electric mode under specific test conditions.
Electrified flex-fuel vehicles offer the dual benefit of greater fuel substitution efficiency (through ethanol) as well as improved fuel economy, courtesy of their high electric-mode driving ratio. With reduced reliance on imported cells and cell raw materials (around 1.3-1.5 KWhr compared to 40-60 KWhr for BEV), electrified flex-fuel vehicles are less susceptible to geopolitical disruptions.
Reducing hydrocarbon emissions, Toyota has also integrated a three-way catalyst within the exhaust system. The installation of an ethanol sensor complemented the existing fuel filter, fuel pump, and fuel lines modifications, which were designed to operate optimally with ethanol.
Through its utilization of innovative technologies such as Hydrogen Vehicle and Electrified Flex Fuel Vehicle, Toyota is actively working towards a cleaner and more sustainable future for energy sources.
As of now, no particular schedule has been scheduled for the Innova Hycross launch so far. It may take little time as it will be required to acquire all of the appropriate approvals and certifications as well. So let’s wait for the giant to arrive soon.