The Innova Hycross flex-fuel prototype will be refined further before going through the homologation and certification processes
The Innova Hycross flex-fuel prototype will be refined further before going through the homologation and certification processesTwitter @nitin_gadkari

Toyota unveils world's first BS6.2 electrified flex-fuel vehicle in India

The prototype vehicle is powered entirely by ethanol and is built on the Toyota Innova Hycross platform

Toyota has achieved a remarkable industry first by unveiling the world's BS6 Stage-II electrified flex-fuel vehicle. The prototype, built on the Innova Hycross platform, is powered entirely by ethanol. Nitin Gadkari, Union Minister of Road Transport and Highways, unveiled the prototype, which will be refined further before going through the homologation and certification processes.

Toyota has unveiled its second flex-fuel vehicle in India, following the debut of a Corolla flex-fuel hybrid sedan earlier this year. This initial pilot project was designed to assess the viability of flex-fuel vehicles in the country. Ethanol, which is produced through the fermentation of plant material, is a cleaner-burning alternative to traditional petroleum. While sugarcane, corn, and maize are common sources, barley, wheat, and cassava are also viable options.

The notable feature of ethanol is its lower emission profile when compared to petroleum, as well as the advantage of being a domestically produced fuel. This potential reduction in imports corresponds to the government's directive to incorporate 20 per cent ethanol blending with petrol by 2025, exemplifying flex-fuel technology.

The Innova Hycross flex-fuel prototype, like the standard Innova Hycross Hybrid, has the same 2.0-litre Atkinson cycle petrol engine paired with an electric motor. According to Toyota, it maintains comparable performance levels even when using ethanol-blended petrol, resulting in significantly lower hydrocarbon emissions.

Toyota emphasises that this prototype meets BS6 Phase II standards and can run on petrol with an ethanol blend that exceeds India's current 20 per cent limit.

As a strong hybrid, the Innova Hycross flex-fuel prototype operates in electric mode 60 per cent of the time (relying solely on the battery pack), while the remaining 40 per cent is powered by an ethanol-powered engine. The 2.0-litre strong-hybrid engine incorporates ethanol-specific spark plugs, piston ring tops, valves, and valve seats to improve water resistance and corrosion prevention during ethanol operation.

Toyota has incorporated a three-way catalyst into the exhaust system to further reduce hydrocarbon emissions. Furthermore, several changes have been made to optimise ethanol functionality, including changes to the vehicle's fuel filter, fuel pump, and fuel lines, which now include an ethanol sensor for monitoring.

In his speech, Gadkari emphasised India's unwavering commitment to environmentally friendly vehicles. Gadkari credited existing ethanol manufacturing capacity for his optimism about achieving 20 per cent ethanol blending soon. He envisioned an automotive landscape in which all vehicles, from cars to two-wheelers and auto-rickshaws, would be powered entirely by ethanol, propelling India to the forefront of global ethanol production.

This event is complemented by Gadkari's prior unveil of the Toyota Mirai FCEV, a hydrogen-powered car that promotes sustainable and green fuel alternatives, emphasising the government's commitment to environmentally friendly practices.

The BS6-compliant Innova makes its debut at New Delhi's Transport Bhawan as a collaboration between Toyota Kirloskar Motor (TKM) and the Automotive Research Association of India (ARAI). The model's distinguishing feature is its ability to run on both petrol and ethanol, which is accomplished via a dial switch.

This trailblazing step heralds a lower carbon footprint while also supporting India's agricultural economy by producing ethanol from surplus food grains and biomass. This innovative hybrid's release date is eagerly anticipated.

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