Toyota Innova HyCross Flex-Fuel Vehicle: Worlds First, launched in India

World’s First fully ethanol-powered car

Toyota Motor, that giant in the automobile realm, has pulled the covers off a groundbreaking innovation: the world’s premier fully ethanol-powered car and it’s got a flex-fuel engine to boot. This marvel, inspired by the much-loved MPV Innova HyCross, was showcased with much fanfare on August 29. And guess who graced the event? None other than Union Minister Nitin Gadkari.

Electrified flex-fuel Innova HyCross

This electrified flex-fuel Innova HyCross isn’t just about alternative fuel. Oh no, it’s a double whammy! It can churn out its electric juice and strut its stuff in EV mode. And for the tech-savvy among us, this prototype is in line with the stringent Bharat Stage 6 (Stage 2) emission norms.

Diving deeper, this Innova HyCross flex-fuel MPV is engineered to run solely on ethanol, known in the biz as E100. And it’s not just any ethanol; it’s derived from plants. Plus, it’s got a lithium-ion battery pack that’s beefy enough to let the car cruise in EV mode. As for when this beauty will hit the roads for the masses? Well, that’s still under wraps.

Now, for the tech aficionados, there are some tweaks to the flex-fuel version of the Innova HyCross that set it apart from its hybrid sibling available in India. While the hybrid variant boasts a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder petrol engine pumping out 181 bhp and delivering a commendable fuel efficiency of 23.24 kmpl, it’s mated to an e-CVT transmission.

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Toyota Innova HyCross Flex Fuel Vehicle
Toyota Innova HyCross Flex Fuel Vehicle

Union Minister Nitin Gadkari, a staunch advocate for alternative fuels, has been vocal about curbing our reliance on pricey crude oil imports. Why? Well, it’s twofold: to slash pollution and to trim down India’s carbon footprint. At the event, he was candid, noting the significant contribution of vehicular pollution to the country’s overall pollution levels, especially in cities like Delhi.

Earlier this year, Toyota Motor also showcased the Mirai, India’s pioneering all-hydrogen electric vehicle, in collaboration with the International Center for Automotive Technology (ICAT). This vehicle, my friends, is a beacon of clean energy, running solely on electricity derived from pure hydrogen and emitting just water.

This prototype? It’s designed to run on an ethanol blend of up to 85%, with the hybrid system taking care of a significant chunk of the output in specific test scenarios. It’s powered by a robust 186PS 2-litre strong-hybrid petrol engine, tweaked to be in sync with the unique properties of a high ethanol blend.

Ethanol, besides being more wallet-friendly than petrol, is primarily crafted from organic stuff like sugarcane. It’s a cleaner fuel, leading to reduced emissions and a smaller environmental footprint. The electrified component of the prototype further amplifies its eco-friendliness.

Energy Import Factor

In the grand scheme of things, as we steer towards a greener future, transitioning from traditional fuels to electric vehicles is a challenge. Flex-fuel and hybrid vehicles, like this prototype, could be the bridge to that future, potentially reducing India’s energy imports and even opening doors for biofuel exports.

This Innova Hycross flex-fuel? It’s still in its prototype phase, with several tests on the horizon before it’s road-ready. The availability of high ethanol-blended fuel is also a factor to consider. But, with E20-compliant fuel and vehicles set for 2025, the future looks promising. What are your thoughts on this? Drop a comment below!