e85 Ferrari

e85 Ferrari unveiled at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit

Monday, Ferrari revealed a e85 concept car that can run on ethanol. A Ferrari spokesperson said that it showcased the e85 ethanol car because of their engineering experience in Formula One and the bubbling demand for alternative fuel or flex-fuel vehicles in America.

The handsome Ferrari F430 Spider Bio-fuel utilizes E85, a blend of fuel that is comprised of 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline.

While at the North American International Auto Show, Amadeo Felisa, Ferrari’s chief executive, described Ferrari’s commitment to drastically reduce their car’s emissions by forty percent by 2012.

According to the executive, Ferrari had prior experience with e85 in Formula one racing. When racing, Formula One has regulations that say all the cars used in races must use fuel that is comprised of 5.75 percent biomass.

On the other hand, The FIA GT and the American Le Mans racing series have somewhat stricter policies. Those races require drivers to use race car’s that operate with e10 or ten percent ethanol.

In order for Ferrari to create the F430 Spider Bio-fuel, Ferrari engineers had to do some minor tweaks to the car’s engine. The engineers had to make changes to the fuel injection system and they had to change settings in the Ferrari’s engine computer. This resulted in lower carbon dioxide emissions – a five percent cut – and as an added bonus, it also increased the car’s power output with no changes to the car’s weight.

This looks to be quite the Ferrari for anyone who is looking for a very sporty e85 car.

Ethanol – the best alternative fuel according to GM

In November of 2007, General Motors updated a report on a benefit to cost analysis for E85 ethanol, saying the report did not take into account many positive factors.

GM said it issued the change in response to a report made earlier in USA Today that proclaims ethanol E85 fuel loses its cost-benefit to diesel.

According to Mustafa Mohatarem, GM’s Chief Economist, explained in a statement, “We believe ethanol as a renewable fuel is the best near-term alternative to oil as a transportation fuel and replacing gasoline with ethanol positively contributes to lowering greenhouse gas emissions.”

As of now, less than 1% of gas stations in the United States of America offer E85, and prices can vary greatly. Some fueling stations charge the same price for E85 ethanol as they do for gasoline, so when gas prices go up or down, E85 follows as well. In other parts of the country, predominantly in regions such as the corn belt where ethanol fuels are more easily attainable, the cost for E85 is usually about a dollar cheaper then regular gas.

According to GM, they are currently producing around 400,000 E85 flex-fuel model cars per year and that number will double that to 800,000 by 2010. GM hopes to produce more than 2 million FlexFuel automobiles by the year 2012.

GM also went on to say that aside from building the fleet of cars, they are also committed to help build everything necessary for ethanol to catch on.

NASCAR moves to alternative fuels

Is is fitting that at the start of every NASCAR race they wave a green flag? As I have previously posted, NASCAR is finally beginning to make their move to alternative, green fuels. Like other racing leagues, companies and organizations, NASCAR is beginning to make their move to become more environmentally friendly.

Currently, NASCAR is only in discussions with their partners. They recently have held conferences on their environment issues with its partners Sunoco Inc and General Motors.

NASCAR does not impact the environment too much with their races but they do impact it symbolically. If people see that NASCAR is willing to make the move to alternative fuels, perhaps NASCAR will be able to persuade them to move on other fuels.

NASCAR administration says that they have they are receiving many car makers willing to help them out. They have Toyota, GM, Ford and Chrysler all offering their support. NASCAR simply needs to take the time out to research and develop their sport to use alternative fuels.

To NASCAR’s credit, they have already answered calls for better safety by introducing new automobiles dubbed the “Cars of Tomorrow” into many of the races this year. Over the course of the 2008 race season, they will use the cars that have been designed to be safer and much more cost effective.