At the Fuel Choices Summit in Israel this week, FCA presented the Fiat 500 M15—a retail-ready version of the Fiat 500 that runs on a blend of 85% gasoline and 15% methanol; is compliant with the Euro 6 New European Driving Cycle (NEDC); delivers a 2% CO2 reduction compared with the same Euro 6 version of the vehicle running on gasoline; and maintains the same vehicle performance.
The Fiat 500M15 is bi-fuel and can run on both M15 and gasoline, as well as any mixture of the two fuels. The product will be marketed in Israel by MCA—the official Israeli importer of FCA Group.
Background. In 2015, FCA, Iveco (a brand of CNH Industrial), Magneti Marelli (a brand of FCA) and the Israel Fuel Choices Initiative (IFCI) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) establishing a co-operation between the parties to develop alternative fuel and natural gas-based technologies.
FCA and DOR Chemicals initiated the Fiat 500 M15 project after the signing of the MOU with IFCI, combining their respective knowledge in alternative fuels.
Earlier this year, Israel’s Ministry of Transport issued an M15 standard, making Israel the first country in the world to issue a national standard for methanol flex fuel vehicles that also comply with the EU’s Euro 6 regulation.
Israeli Standard SI 90 Part 4 was prepared under the initiative of the Ministry of National Infrastructures, Energy and Water Resources, with the cooperation of the Ministry of Transportation, the Ministry of Environmental Protection and the Prime Minister’s Office. This is an original Israeli Standard;except for a Chinese District Standard, there is no relevant standardization in the world for M15.
As the M15 mixture is produced by inclusion of methanol in conventional gasoline, the chemical and physical properties of M15 are similar to those of gasoline. Accordingly, the standard for M15 is based on the Israeli Standard for the conventional gasoline (SI 90 part 2), with modifications of the chemical and physical properties due to the creation of the mixture.
Methanol can be produced from methane (a natural gas component), and can be distributed using existing infrastructures already in place for oil (vessels, railroads, trucks, pipelines, etc.), even if some materials have to be adapted to make them compatible with this fuel. A refueling station, for instance, can be quite simply converted into a methanol station.
In 2006, the Nobel Prize winner in Chemistry, George A. Olah and two co-authors, G. K. Surya Prakash and Alain Goeppert, published “Beyond oil & gas: the methanol economy”, pinpointing methanol as a very effective solution for sustainable transportation. In 2013, during the first Fuel Choices Summit, Olah and Surya Prakash received the Eric and Sheila Samson Award.