The world could be a better place. A place where you could be CO2 neutral. Where we would not fill the till of Saudi potentates with every tank filling. They finance their medieval regime and a worldview guaranteed to be far from democracy. The world could ... but it is not!
The tax subsidy of E85 expires on 01.01.2016. What is to come is clear. Bioethanol, an environmentally friendly alternative to fossil energy, will disappear from the pumps. It all started with great ambitions. E85 in Europe is also a Swedish story and a piece of Saab history. Bioethanol and Saab, that was an exceptional relationship.
The vision. Bioethanol should be obtained from forest waste and Sweden should become independent of fossil energy. The southern German version: Instead of wood chips, it should be agricultural waste, both ideas are brilliant - and would have worked if, in addition to the good ethanol, there had also been the bad ethanol. Because against E85 in the tank, from vegetable waste, nobody can say.
The bad ethanol. What does not work, where a cause of failure lies, is ethanol from food or from plantations. Ethanol 1.0 is made from sugarcane in Brazil and is definitely not a green fuel. Just as little corn or wheat, from which biofuel is produced in Europe. For the press, fuel from food was stuff from which to weave scandals. There was a lack of political will, a countermeasure, an Ecolabel for E85 from vegetable waste. After a short time consumers understood. Fuel from food. Ethanol is evil. Ethanol is dead.
Why it failed. E85 is actually a stroke of genius in the tank. CO2 neutral on the road, with mature, affordable combustion technology, hardly noticeable additional costs. It was possibly too simple and customer-friendly - and not realistic if it was widely used. High demand for E85, only from vegetable waste, would not have been covered. The big manufacturers were really only interested in the topic in certain markets. In Brazil, in Sweden. The many E85 models from VW were reserved for almost all Scandinavia, the rest of Europe was preferred to make diesel tasty.
Saab and bioethanol. Saab has a special relationship with biofuel. Because Saab could do what nobody else could. More power and a clear conscience. The exception relationship between Saab and E85 is called BioPower. The BioPower concept is a by-product of research on a variable-compression multi-fuel engine. Of the SVC Engine never went into production, only one test vehicle still exists, but 2006 Saab BioPower engines came on the market.
Reason for me at the time to buy a 9-5. A conscious decision because I thought the concept was brave, intelligent and environmentally friendly. And because it was a lot of fun ...
The exception relationship of the exceptional brand Saab to E85 has a name: Trionic! The intelligent engine management of Saab conjures in ethanol operation some horsepower and torque in addition. That was noticeable in access and pulling power. Bioethanol was refueled whenever possible. Often with a small detour, with meticulous route planning through the extensive network of E85 gas stations. That with the additional horses at no extra cost could only Saab. The higher consumption, around 20%, was offset by a green conscience and the low price at the pump.
The end of the exceptional relationship. There is something that the old Saab 9-5 generation has ahead of the new (or last). The Trionic. There is no such thing with the 9-5 NG, Robert Bosch lives under the hood. It does its job well, but is not able to conjure up more driving fun and power from the E85. Ethanol was therefore rarely found in the tank of my current 9-5 NG. A farewell to installments.
And if my gas station soon E85 from the program, then that's just the case. An alternative less, the result of a political process that does not want to be bold or green.
Germany is not alone in saying goodbye. In Sweden, E85 has been on the decline for years. Those who fill up with green fuel have been paying for it since the subsidy for ethanol vehicles expired. Volvo is now completely canceling its range of E85 vehicles, as is Ford, and Audi is also dropping the models from the range. Volkswagen, of all people, is the last manufacturer to hold the bioethanol flag high with a Golf Variant.
What remains? At the dispensers there are E5 and E10. A plörre, politically wanted, that does not make anyone happy. Whether ethanol floats out of sugar cane or food, nobody can rule it out. With my E85 tank I could do that. Only South German agricultural waste came out of the fuel nozzle. Refined in Germany. Politically harmless. Past !