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Volvo Expanding Markets and Extending Model Range of E85 Flex-Fuel Cars

Volvo’s FlexiFuel system. Click to enlarge.

Volvo Cars is launching FlexiFuel models into eight new European markets this fall and is also extending its range of E85 models. Even Volvo’s new C30 will be offered as an E85 flex-fuel model.

Three of Volvo’s nine models—the C30, S40 and V50—are now available in an optimized FlexiFuel alternative. They are powered by a four-cylinder naturally-aspirated engine producing 125 hp (92 kW).

FlexiFuel System Specifications
1 Fuel consumption when running on E85 bioethanol is about 40% higher.
Engine 1.8-liter 4-cylinder gasoline/E85 engine
Transmission 5-speed manual
Max power output 92 kW (125 hp)
Max torque 165 Nm (122 lb-ft) at 4,000 rpm
Acceleration 0-100 km/h in seconds 10.8 (C30)
10.9 (S40)
11.0 (V50)
Top speed 200 kph (124 mph)
Fuel consumption litres/100 km
(gasoline power)1
7.3 (C30)
7.4 (S40)
7.4 (V50)
Fuel economy mpg US
(gasoline power)
32.2 (C30)
31.8 (S40)
31.8 (V50)
CO2 g/km
(gasoline power)
174 (C30)
177 (S40)
177 (V50)

The fuel hoses, valves and gaskets have all been modified to withstand the more corrosive properties of ethanol. The injection valves have been reinforced and are also larger, since more fuel is injected into the engine because of the lower energy content of E85 compared with petrol.

Moreover, the software calibration is updated for ethanol power. The engine management system precisely monitors the fuel mixture in the fuel tank and automatically adjusts both injection and ignition to suit.

The vehicles are certified running 100% gasoline. Fuel consumption when running on E85 bioethanol is about 40% higher, according to Volvo.

Volvo Cars predicts sales of 7,000 FlexiFuel cars in 2007. Most are expected to be sold in Sweden.

First to get the flex-fuel cars outside Sweden will be Britain, Ireland, France, Spain, the Netherlands, Belgium, Switzerland and Norway.

There are at present 23 plants producing ethanol in Europe and this figure is expected to rise to just over 60 in 2008. France has announced that the country will build 500 fuel stations for E85 (a blend of 85% renewable ethanol and 15% petrol) in 2007. The fuel will be produced locally from agricultural products.

All told, about 1.8 million liters (476,000 gallons US) of ethanol are produced annually within the EU, primarily from sugar-beet and various grains. Capacity is expected to increase threefold by 2008.


Sid Hoffman

Wow. The EU produces one TENTH as much ethanol as the USA. That's funny!


Mike, it is probably 1.8 Billion liters.


It would be nice if they offer a gasoline only 1.8L 4-cylinder C30 for the US market. It probably wouldn't sell well enough though.


The Spanish are looking into sweet sorghum. Summertime temps are high enough in the Med, but there may not be enough water to go around. They may expect similar results to sugar beets, but with less water usage.


Don't know why they don't make all their turbo models flex fuel as upping the boost would help E85 get better power and mpg.

John Schreiber

I agree with James. Flex fuel without a turbo, or variable compression certainly cannot be called "optimized". The mods listed are simply make the engine package "compatible" with E85. 125HP is a good target number for the mass market of vehicles. If that is not enough, the car is too heavy.


Good points, John.
Additional benefit of flex-fuel turbo: if you want max power, fill-up with E85.

Max Reid

Volvo is owned by Ford, when they can make the small C30 model a Flex-fuel, why not they do the same with Ford Focus another compact car.

The 2 hatchback models (3 & 5 door) will be ideal choice. A smaller greener model.


I would like to see all cars sold in the U.S. be FFV by 2010. When you make all cars FFV, the economies help bring the costs per unit down. 5 million FFV cars becomes 50 million FFV cars, then we can go beyond E10 at the fueling stations in a lot of places.

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