|The basic components of the Bosch flex-fuel system. Legend available here.|
The Brazilian Ministry for Science and Technology has awarded Bosch its innovation prize for the Flex-Fuel engine management system. The “Technological Innovation Finep Award” was presented in the country’s capital, Brasilia.
The award-winning Flex Fuel technology developed by Bosch permits vehicles to be fueled by gasoline, by alcohol, or by any mixture of the two fuels.
Two types of fuel, based on ethanol manufactured from locally grown sugar cane, are popular in Brazil: gasoline containing 22 percent alcohol, and nearly pure alcohol (i.e., even more ethanol than in E85). The highly concentrated alcohol is more economical than the ethanol-gasoline mixture. With the Bosch Flex Fuel system, the motorist can fill up flexibly with either fuel.
We are particularly pleased by the award, because it acknowledges our strategy of developing clean, resource-conserving technologies for every region in the world.—Dr. Bernd Bohr, Chairman of the Bosch Automotive Group
The first mass-produced car incorporating the new Bosch engine management system was the VW Fox Total Flex, introduced in Brazil in 2003. In 2005, no less than 10 new vehicle models fitted with the Bosch system went into series production. In 2005, total sales of newly licensed vehicles capable of using either alcohol or gasoline as fuel amounted to more than one million vehicles in Brazil—a market share of more than 70%.
The Bosch Motronic Flex-Fuel system (earlier post) measures the oxygen content in the exhaust fumes to determine the alcohol content in the fuel. The engine management software adjusts ignition and injection based on the actual fuel mix in the tank.
Because the ignition properties of alcohol are inferior to gasoline when the engine is cold, the flex fuel system uses gasoline from a small 0.5 liter reserve tank for cold starts.