One dozen new E85-compatible vehicles are set to enter the model year 2007 lineup. DaimlerChrysler, General Motors (GM), and Nissan will all introduce new flexible fuel vehicles (FFVs), bringing the total number of FFVs available to thirty-one, according to the National Ethanol Vehicle Coalition (NEVC).
“We are pleased to see the automobile manufacturers follow through with their promise to increase their number of FFV offerings,” said NEVC Executive Director Phil Lampert. “This increase in production along with recent pledges for additional new vehicles demonstrates the commitment of the auto industry to respond to consumer demands for E85 vehicles.”
One new FFV to the market is the Chrysler Aspen, DaimlerChrysler’s first full-size sport utility vehicle (SUV). The automaker says the Aspen is a small SUV offering better fuel economy and maneuverability than other SUVs currently on the road. It operates on a 4.7-liter, 235-horsepower V8 engine.
Another FFV DaimlerChrysler debuting is the Jeep Commander, a three-row Jeep that seats up to seven passengers and runs on a 4.7-liter V8 engine. Others that will be available are the 4.7-liter V8 Jeep Grand Cherokee and Dodge Dakota as well as the Mercedes Benz C230 sedan powered by a 201-horsepower, 2.5-liter V6 engine.
GM will also introduce several new FFVs, including the Chevy Uplander. The company describes this vehicle as combining an SUV’s bold styling with a van’s passenger room and interior versatility with the smooth ride and fuel efficiency of a sedan. The Uplander’s engine is a 3.9-liter V6.
Other new GM FFVs are the Chevy Express and GMC Savana, both full-size passenger vans that run on 5.3-liter V8 engines and are designed mainly for commercial use. The company will also put on the market E85-compatible versions of its Pontiac Montana, Saturn Relay, and Buick Terraza minivans, all of which run on 3.9-liter V6 engines.
Nissan joins DaimlerChrysler and GM in introducing a new FFV to the market in the form of its Armada, a full-size SUV. The Armada operates on a 5.6-liter V8 engine, and Nissan has plans to produce approximately twenty thousand of the FFV.
“We must now focus on increasing the infrastructure across the entire U.S. to help fuel these vehicles with 85 percent ethanol,” said Lampert. “We are continuing to work with the Congress to consider incentives that would advance alternative fuel systems and are hopeful that the Senate will continue to appropriate funds to assist us in this effort.”