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Holden confirms 85% ethanol Commodore

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Holden confirms 85% ethanol Commodore


August 2, 2010

Holden Commodore E85.

Holden will soon rely on alcohol to future-proof Australia's best-selling car against dwindling oil supplies.

The car maker has announced it will work with retailer Caltex to market 85 per cent ethanol fuel in Australia, beginning with the launch of an E85 version of the Commodore in September.

Caltex will roll out 100 retail outlets to sell E85 within the next 12 months. The retailer announced a string of 11 retail outlets for the new fuel in metropolitan Melbourne, and a total of 31 spread across four states, that will be operational by early September, the same time as Holden is expected to launch the new-look Commodore.

Holden is remaining tight-lipped about the ethanol-friendly engines ahead of next month's launch, although two V6-engined cars - a sedan and Sportswagon - were rolled out for the assembled media at today's event.

One important piece of the puzzle that was not revealed was the price per litre that the cheaper Bio E-Flex fuel, as it will be marketed, will cost, although Caltex says it will be ''significantly lower'' than that of unleaded petrol. E85 vehicles typically use a lot more fuel than petrol vehicles.

Caltex Australia manager of government affairs Frank Topham says the fuel retailer aims to keep the cost of E85 fuel competitive.

''We want to make it attractive for people and their flex-fuel Commodores to purchase the fuel,'' he says. ''The exact pricing will be released closer to the supply date in early September.''

''This is all a part of listening to our customers,'' Mr Topham says.

''We know that our customers want options to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from transport, we know they're concerned about future engine security, and this is another choice that we were able to give to them.''

Holden energy and environment director, Richard Marshall, says Commodore owners will be able to decide if they want to run the flex-fuel Commodore on petrol, or any mix of petrol and ethanol up to E85.

He says Holden committed to adding E85 capability to its engines as part of its alternative fuels strategy announced in 2008.

''In the coming months we'll be launching the VE series two Commodore, and this will be the first locally made vehicle with flex-fuel technology,'' he said.

Mr Marshall says one of the reasons Holden is offering the flex-fuel technology is because it is affordable. ''We'll be offering the technology on the vehicle at no additional cost,'' he says.

''We're trying to put this technology across as many cars as we can, where it's affordable, and where it's reasonable," he said. "The long-term goal is to put as many vehicles as we can into the market with this flex-fuel technology.''

However, Holden won't be committing to just ethanol-blended fuel alone, with Mr Marshall revealing that the lion badge is working liquid-injection technology for its dual-fuel LPG 3.6-litre V6 engine.

Rival car maker Ford is expected to introduce the direct-injection LPG system to its locally made Falcon large car, improving the performance and efficiency of the engine so they match the petrol engine.

Mr Marshall declined to reveal if diesel was part of Holden's overall alternative fuel strategy for the Commodore.

Caltex will reveal its Sydney-based E85 refuelling stations on Wednesday.



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