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Old 11-05-2018, 07:59 PM   #22 (permalink)
It's all about Diesel
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Originally Posted by JSH View Post
The perfect engine for a flexfuel vehicle is direct injected and turbocharged. Variable boost on the turbo allows the engine to vary the effective compression ratio based on the blend of ethanol.
There are already some engines with such feature available on the market, at least here in Brazil.

So why do flex-fuel vehicles suck so badly in the USA? The answer lies in CAFE (Corporate Average Fuel Economy). Manufacturers in the USA make flex-fuel vehicle to get CAFE credits. The manufacturer gets a 1.2 mpg credit for making vehicle flex-fuel. The fine for not meeting CAFE is $5.50 for every 1/10 of a mpg you miss it by. So a flex-fuel credit is worth $66. In order for it to make sense for a manufacturer to make a flex-fuel vehicle the cost has to be less than $66.
The problem with American automakers is their mindset based on mediocrity. Even though I like some old-school American boat anchors, this caught my attention when I first realised so many features which are now becoming widespread on gassers would also be highly desirable on a flexfuel. Well, maybe the fact that ethanol is often pointed out as a regional fuel, most easily accepted by some corn farmer in Nebraska than by a New Yorker, it seems like automakers get even more inclined to resort to it as an excuse to keep delivering mediocre engines with a near-zero cost to implement a flexfuel software and eventually replacing the materials used in the fuel lines even though they won't have any major redesign.
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