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Ethanol Holdens a year away

High octane: Holden's Coupe 60 concept ran on E85 ethanol fuel.

Holden confirms E85 engines for local models by 2010, and eyes Oz ethanol production

9 Dec 2008

GENERAL Motors (GM) has confirmed that locally built Holden models will be available in Australia with E85 ethanol-compatible engines by 2010.

The E85 announcement will see Holden join GM’s luxury brand Saab in offering models that are compatible with the 85 per cent ethanol-blended fuel in little more than 12 months.

A 10 per cent ethanol/90 per cent petrol mix, E10 is already widely available in Australia, but to date only a handful of retailers in major capital cities sell E85.

However, a number of new government and industry initiatives could change that.

The NSW Cabinet last week approved legislation to make fuel companies replace unleaded petrol with ethanol by 2011, making NSW the first state to legislate for mandatory ethanol use in Australia.

Lands minister Tony Kelly said the NSW government will triple the state's ethanol fuel mandate from two to six per cent within two years.

Holden has also announced it is negotiating with US bio-fuel producer and GM partner Coskata to establish the first local cellulostic ethanol facility in Australia.

The plant, which produces ethanol from waste products, would be Coskata's first outside the US. Coskata claims its ethanol has the potential to reduce lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions by up to 84 per cent compared with regular petrol.

“We’ve said from day one we want to take a leadership position on ethanol and provide the vehicles to do that,” said Mr Reuss on Friday.

“While we already have the Saab BioPower E85 vehicles on the market, there is obviously greater market push required to stimulate infrastructure, fuel production and policy.

“So let me announce here that we’re committing to having a locally -built Holden vehicles running on E85 in the market by 2010.

“As you know, ethanol is a renewable energy and the costs are relatively small to modify existing technology to make it viable. It has great potential, particularly because of the ability to produce it from waste.

“As part of that energy transformation here in Australia we are in discussion with bio-fuels company Coskata to help establish the first local cellulostic ethanol facility here in Australia.

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“It would be Coskata’s first venture outside the US since announcing its joint-venture with GM last year, and that pilot plant is being built and brought online there as we speak,” said Mr Reuss, adding that E85 would be cheaper, largely renewable and a key driver in reducing automotive CO2 emissions.

Holden recently announced a small reduction in both fuel consumption and performance for the Port Melbourne-built Alloytec V6 that powers all of its Commodore-based models, and said the next fuel consumption technology to be released would be the Active Fuel Management (AFM) cylinder-deactivation feature on its V8 engines.

“We’re getting ready to ready to produce our first AFM vehicles right now … and then we’ll look to introduce a new technology here every two or three months as we go through the next couple of years, so we’ve got the plant pre-loaded with fuel fuel-saving technology,” said Mr Reuss.

Holden said at the Australian International Motor Show in Sydney that it will market a new range of environmentally friendly models, including AFM-equipped cars and those that run on diesel, LPG or renewable energy, under the EcoLine banner from early 2009.

“This really means that Ecoline is the easy way to communicate our future technology and how we’re making Holden the smarter choice for Australian motorists and to make motoring more affordable and more environmentally friendly.

“These things shouldn’t be only for the wealthy – that’s not what Holden stands for. Looking ahead to 2009, these new technologies are critical to ensuring that car manufacturing continues to play a critical economic role in Australia,” said Mr Reuss.

Holden Special Vehicles (HSV) is also expected to make a major fuel-saving technology announcement next week.

Read more:

Holden goes it alone on E85

Councils stall E85 - United

Ethanol-powered Commodore on the way

Doubt emerges over hybrid Commodore

Saab boosts bio-ethanol range

Holden Commodore hybrid and diesel are go


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