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31st August, 2010

  • VE/WM Series II flex-fuel models can run on bio-ethanol, reducing CO2 emissions
  • Holden takes a leadership role in the development of alternative fuel technologies
  • Partnership with fuel retailer Caltex to ensure fuel availability
  • Holden part of a consortium investigating ethanol made from household rubbish

Australia's top-selling car, the Holden Commodore, is about to become the first Australian-made car capable of running on environmentally friendly bio-ethanol with today's announcement of the impending release of the company’s new VE Series II range.

In a major step towards providing a cleaner Australian fuel landscape, Series II models powered by Holden’s 3.0 litre SIDI V6 and 6.0 litre V8 engines will have flex-fuel capability, allowing them to run on bio-ethanol, E10, unleaded, premium or any combination in between.

Bio-ethanol, also known as E85, is a fuel consisting of up to 85 per cent ethanol and 15 per cent petrol. It is a cleaner-burning fuel that can enhance vehicle performance and reduce CO2 emissions by up to 40 per cent, compared to petrol.

Holden Energy and Environment Director Richard Marshall said Holden was committed to leading the development of alternative fuel vehicles and provide drivers with environmentally conscious options.

“The launch of Series II delivers on a promise to provide our customers with more sustainable options for powering their car,” Mr Marshall said.

“We believe that bio-ethanol has huge potential in Australia. It is a cleaner-burning, renewable fuel and long-term we think it has the ability to displace up to 30 per cent of Australia’s petrol use.”

“We’re very proud of Series II – a vehicle that is designed and engineered by Australians, built by Australians and which can now use an Australian-made alternative fuel.”

To ensure availability of the bio-ethanol fuel for Series II vehicles, Holden has entered into a partnership with a major fuel retailer, Caltex, which will sell the fuel under the Bio E-Flex brand name.

E85 is currently available in a limited number of privately owned and operated service stations, mostly in major metro areas. Presently, some Saab and Chrysler products are E85 compatible.

Caltex will have Bio E-Flex available in 31 service stations in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide and Canberra by the end of October, increasing to 100 metropolitan and regional locations in 2011.

“The new fuel provides motorists with a genuine alternative at the bowser, as 90 per cent of Series II flex-fuel vehicle owners will live within 10 kilometres of a Caltex Bio E-Flex pump,” he said.

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Mr Marshall said Australia’s current ethanol supply was produced from the by-products made during the industrial production of wheat and sugar, as well as sorghum.

As a part of a new consortium, Holden is also investigating the viability of establishing Australia’s first second-generation ethanol plant which would produce ethanol from household and other waste. The consortium includes the Victorian Government, Caltex, Veolia, Mitsui and Coskata.

The plant could be capable of turning materials such as household rubbish and building waste into more than 200 million litres of ethanol a year.

“Here and now, the VE Series II Commodore offers Australians a vehicle that is affordable to run, has a reduced impact on the environment and is great to drive.”

“But in the long term, our vision is that the second-generation production of this fuel, and its use in these vehicles, will reduce Australia’s dependence on petrol, make a major contribution to sustainable motoring and greenhouse gas reduction,” he said.


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