The Green Autos

Dual fuel cars – the need of the hour

Posted on December 10, 2010 in News

Yes, every one knows that the world is facing a crisis as regards fossil fuels and in this regard, a car or vehicle running on dual fuel mode is welcome. These are called as Dual fuel cars or dual fuel vehicles. These are different from bi-fuel vehicles in the aspect that bi-fuel vehicles have separate tanks for storage of their energy source whereas the Dual fuel cars have only one tank and this can take in both the fuels. The fuels usually used are gasoline mixed with methanol or ethanol.

Believe it or not, the first car to use this technology was Ford Motors maiden venture, the Ford Model T. It ran on both ethanol as well as gasoline. This technology has now been adopted across the world however it can be safely said that North America still accounts for the maximum number of such vehicles. These vehicles have their fuel injectors, combustion chamber and spark timings so adjusted to to suit the different fuels. The electronic sensors are so designed to facilitate the switch. Most of the times, these engines can run entirely on ethanol or in gasoline mode or best, mix of both. European cars with this technology are so designed to accommodate 85% of anhydrous ethanol and 15% gasoline. This is done so that the car doesn’t have a problem in cold starts. Gasoline catches fire earlier than ethanol and hence it is the preferred mode for cold starts.

Dual fuel cars are better in another aspect that they record high fuel economy than their gasoline only or ethanol running companions. While it is recommended to use both at a time, buyers ignore this aspect and end up using only one. This is because the ethanol stations are still nascent in their set up and are far and few in between. Many companies are nowadays using this technology to enhance the appeal of their cars as also do their bit in showing that they care for the environment. Vehicles using this technology are said to emit lesser fumes than their gasoline only counterparts due to high combustion ratio. This same high combustion ratio ensures that the fuel is almost completely burnt and thus reduces pollutants and in the process, ensures better performance. If a car runs entirely on ethanol and if we can somehow eliminate the cold start problems, then we can certainly look forward to more of these specimens on the road. The price hike is also nominal over their gasoline powered counterparts since there is not much of alteration required except for the position of the sensors and all. More and more companies are now participating in this program, with the Dodge Caravan and Ford Taurus been the latest vehicles to be tested with this technology. In the third world countries, it is still a fledgling concept and not too prevalent. It is said that Indian car maker Mahindra & Mahindra are testing their SUV code named as W201 with this technology. Once launched in India, they would take this across to the world.

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