Toyota's Electrified Flex-Fuel Prototype To Make Global Debut In India On August 29
By Amaan Ahmed
3 mins read
Published on August 24, 2023
- Toyota to unveil new, electrified flex-fuel model in India on August 29.
- Prototype expected to be based on the Innova Hycross MPV.
- Company has previously showcased the Corolla flex-fuel hybrid sedan in India.
To reaffirm its commitment to ethanol as an alternative fuel, Toyota will unveil a new, ethanol-powered hybrid vehicle next week. On August 29, an electrified flex-fuel prototype from Toyota will make its world premiere in India, and is said to be based on the carmaker’s best-selling model in our market. While details are scarce, we expect this prototype to be based on the Toyota Innova Hycross. The Innova family has long been Toyota’s biggest pillar of strength in the Indian market, and of the two models on sale, it is the Hycross, and not the Crysta, which is equipped with a strong hybrid system.
Ethanol — a biofuel made from sugar or food grains — has emerged as a potential clean energy alternative for mobility. The government has long opined that surplus food crops could be used to make the ethanol needed to power vehicles. While ethanol is not available as a fuel for transportation use in India as yet, it is expected to be substantially cheaper than diesel, with a litre said to cost a little over Rs 60. India is targeting countrywide availability of E20 fuel (a blend of petrol with 20 per cent ethanol) by 2025. This move is expected to eliminate the need for up to 86 million barrels of petrol, saving Rs 30,000 crore in foreign exchange and slashing CO2 emissions by up to 10 million tonnes in the process.
The Crysta soldiers on with a diesel engine, but is nearing the end of its life cycle.
Toyota could well be evaluating the feasibility of an ethanol-powered Innova potentially replacing the diesel-powered Innova Crysta, which continues to be in high demand, but is nearing the end of its product life cycle. With the Hycross, Toyota has already convinced loyalists to embrace the switch from diesel to petrol power (the Hycross is only available in petrol and petrol-hybrid forms). An ethanol-powered option, with reduced emissions and high fuel efficiency (thanks to the strong hybrid technology), could be an even bigger draw for those with high usage.
In 2022, Toyota imported a Corolla Hybrid flex-fuel vehicle to India from Brazil, for a pilot project on flex-fuel hybrid cars for the Indian market. At the time, Toyota Kirloskar Motor signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru, to share data obtained from the pilot project for detailed viability studies.
Depending on the feasibility of launching a flex-fuel hybrid vehicle, Toyota could well choose to develop a flex-fuel hybrid based on the Urban Cruiser Hyryder compact SUV as well. The SUV, developed in collaboration with Maruti Suzuki, is also available with a strong hybrid powertrain, and along with the Camry sedan and Vellfire luxury MPV, is one of four strong hybrid Toyotas presently on sale in India.
Last Updated on August 24, 2023
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