Field Trials of Ethanol-Powered Vehicles Go Worldwide

Scania, manufacturer of ethanol-powered commercial vehicles, is supplying the city buses for use in the BEST (BioEthanol for Sustainable Transport) consortium’s initial field trials of ‘ethanol as a vehicle fuel’ to take place in La Spezia, a coastal city in northwestern Italy.

The public transport company, with 250 buses in its fleet and 18 million passengers per year, will start operating three Scania OmniLink ethanol buses in its city bus fleet in September. The aim of the BEST consortium is to pave the way for broad-based acceptance of ethanol as a viable alternative fuel for both cars and commercial vehicles. It encompasses the building of ethanol refueling stations and the launch of trials involving both cars and city buses in ten locations throughout the world, including Stockholm, Rotterdam, Dublin, Madrid, Basque Provinces (Spain), Nanyang (China) and Sao Paulo (Brazil). “Ethanol is an excellent renewable fuel for heavy commercial vehicles in urban operation,” said Bengt Rasmusen, MD of Scania Bus Italy. “We regard this project as an important first step towards sustainable urban transport with renewable fuels. The environmental potential is great and Scania is using a proven technology that is fully up to the demands of tough urban operation.” In Sweden, Scania has been supplying ethanol buses to public transport companies for 15 years and the technology has produced impressive environmental gains. Already in 1989, Scania’s ethanol engine reached Euro 3 emission levels, which did not become compulsory in 2001. The current ethanol engine generation introduced in 1996 reaches Euro 4 levels, which will be required from October this year. Scania is now developing its third-generation ethanol engine, planned for introduction in late 2007. The BEST project was started by representatives of the Stockholm Public Transport Company and is partly financed by the EU.

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