The Brazilian automobile industry developing lighter vehicles that operate with flexibility in the type of fuel, popularly called flex cars or vehicles with engine that runs on any proportion of gasoline and ethanol without the need for additional small gasoline tank used by the previous models cold start, or dedicated sensors to detect the proportion of fuel in the mixture. Available on the market after 2003, these cars were a commercial success, In August 2008 the fleet of cars flex had already reached 6.2 million vehicles, including cars and light commercial vehicles, representing 23 of the light vehicle fleet in Brazil. The success of flex vehicles, along with the mandatory use level between 20 and 25 alcohol mixed with conventional gasoline (E25 gasohol) for motor vehicle gasoline, permitted the consumption of ethanol surpassed gasoline consumption from April 2008. 29
Brazil has ethanol fuel available throughout the country. Shown here a typical station supply Petrobras in Sao Paulo with the two fuels available, alcohol (ethanol) and gasoline A marked with the letter G.
Typical Brazilian flex engine with petrol reserve tank for cold start, used when temperatures are below 15 Celsius.
The existence of a tradition in the use of ethanol as fuel favorecion the rapid adoption of flex cars in Brazil. Thanks to the “Pro-alcool”, created in response to the oil crisis of 1973, the Brazilian government created a series of incentives that led to the automotive industry located in Brazil at that time – Volkswagen, Fiat, Ford and General Motors — adapting the engines of vehicles to run on alcohol fuel. The first car to run on 100 alcohol was the Fiat 147 in 1978. From then until 1986, won the car of alcohol popularity among Brazilians, to the point where the majority of vehicles manufactured by the used car industry that fuel. However a strong increase in prices of sugar affects the sumistro ethanol, causing the alcohol-driven vehicles were reduced suddenly from 1990 onwards. However, as a legacy of the “Pro-alcool”, when cars were introduced flex the country had 30,000 gas stations equipped to dispense ethanol around the country.
The development of flex cars in Brazil began in May 2003, when the amount of a Volkswagen production line for flexible fuel cars, resulting in the Gol 1.6 Total Flex. Two months after the Chevrolet offered in the market Corsa 1.8 “Flexpower”, using an engine developed in partnership with Fiat called “Powertrain”. In 1993 the production of cars “flex” came to 39,853 cars and light commercial vehicles 9411. Since 2005, manufacturers that produce vehicles “flex” include automotive Chevrolet, Fiat, Ford, Peugeot, Renault, Volkswagen, Honda, Mitsubishi, Toyota and Citroen. vehicles “flex” accounted for 22 of sales new cars in 2004, rose to 73 in 2005, and sales reached 87.6 in July 2008.
The Brazilian version of the Flex 2008 Honda Civic has access to external auxiliary fuel tank in the front right side, on the site shown by the arrow.
The pure ethanol (E100) and mixtures of high ethanol content problems cold starting the engine at temperatures below 15 Celsius due to loss of vapor pressure of alcohol at low temperatures. As in the central and southern Brazil during winter temperatures can fall below the Brazilian flex vehicles with a small auxiliary tank that stores fuel for use in pure cold weather. The next generation of flex engines to be launched in 2009 will eliminate the need for tank side by allowing the cold start up at temperatures below 5 Celsius, the lowest temperature expected anywhere in the Brazilian territory. Another progress of the new flex technology is the reduction of fuel consumption and reducing pollutant emissions, estimated at between 10 to 15 compared to the flex engines used in 2008 models.