Ford reintroduces E85 FFVs to Sweden
Ford Motor Company AB, the Swedish arm of the global automobile major, has revealed that it once again will be the only brand to have E85 as a renewable fuel option for new vehicles on the Swedish market. First out is the Ford Kuga EcoBoost E85 which is now being sold in both France and Sweden.
Almost 20 years ago, Ford was first in Sweden with ethanol-powered cars. When the auto brand now presents its new investment in renewable fuels for the Swedish market, it is clear that the automaker will once again be the only car brand in Sweden to sell ethanol-powered cars, in addition to other renewable fuels such as HVO, vehicle gas, and electricity. First out is the Ford Kuga EcoBoost E85 which is now being sold.
Renewable fuel suite includes E85
Last week, Ford unveiled its global plans for electrification, where all the segments will be electrified, from the small Ford Fiesta to the big trucks. In Sweden, Ford is now taking its sustainability plans one step further by introducing cars that can be run on E85, a renewable fuel containing up to 85 percent ethanol.
According to a statement, ethanol is an important part of the offensive that Ford is now doing to convert to renewable fuels, an offensive in which, in addition to E85, the renewable diesel HVO, vehicle gas, and electricity are also included.
Before the end of 2019, Ford will offer both transport vehicles approved for HVO, for which tests are currently being carried out, plug-in hybrids and hybrids cars for the Swedish market. At the beginning of next year, an all-electric Mustang-inspired SUV will be launched.
Electric cars are the first to come from Ford’s global SEK 100 billion investment during 2017 to 2022, which will result in 40 different electrified models and presented during Ford’s Go Further event in Amsterdam, the Netherlands last week.
Market return for ethanol pioneer
Around the turn of the millennium, Sweden was a pioneering country when it came to E85 as a renewable transportation fuel. Ford was the first automaker to launch a flexifuel vehicle (FFV) capable of running on E85 when it launched Focus in 2001.
Distribution of E85 was boosted by legislation, the so-called pump law, requiring filling stations over a certain annual sales volume to provide at least one renewable fuel alternative.
As a result, Ford sold over 50 000 Focus FFVs before high ethanol prices and change in taxation all but killed the market for E85 in the early 2010s.
Now that the price situation for E85 looks completely different, and a shift towards renewable powertrains is the top priority Ford sees a renaissance for ethanol. E85 already exists on thousands of petrol stations throughout Sweden, ethanol cars offer a very easily accessible conversion to renewable fuels for a large number of people.
The automotive industry must switch to renewable fuels and it needs to do it fast. Electric cars will not be the sole solution over the next five to ten years, and during that period additional solutions are needed. Here we see that the ethanol fills a great need. The distribution network already exists and the technology is proven. The problems with too high sulphate levels that existed 20 years ago have long since disappeared thanks to an EU standard, and now the price of E85 is also more reasonable thanks to a smarter tax burden. We believe in the electric car as one of several solutions in the long term, but here and now, ethanol is almost completely unbeatable for achieving a rapid climate change on a large scale, said Erik Lindham, Information Manager at Ford Sweden.
Ford Kuga takes the lead – in Sweden and France
First off is the SUV: a Ford Kuga EcoBoost E85, which can be ordered today from all Ford dealers across the country. The cars are specially adapted for the E85, but if E85 was not offered at a petrol station it is just as good to drive the car on gasoline.
In addition to Sweden, Ford in France is also on the ethanol train. In France, ethanol prices are at a significantly lower level than in Sweden, almost half of the cost per liter compared to gasoline and the gap is expected to increase further. Ford also has many ethanol-powered models in the US and Brazil.
Ford’s new ethanol engine is based on the award-winning 150 hp 1.5-liter EcoBoost engine and is very different from those of Ford’s previous flexifuel vehicles. The engine is modified directly in the factory in Valencia, Spain where the cars are built, and the engine and the advanced fuel system senses which fuel is in the tank.
E85 as a fuel has been very unfairly treated by politics in recent years, and this is behind the market drop. But the potential of the fuel is still there and we hope that more brands will follow us now. In this way, we can together show policymakers that we in the industry still believe in E85 and get improvements that will benefit both the climate and the infrastructure, ended Erik Lindham.