Images courtesy of The Renewable Fuels Association

The Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) has purchased a new 2022 Ford Escape Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV) as its latest vehicle project. The concept is to use this vehicle to demonstrate that ethanol (E85) and electricity can jointly power vehicles today. In some cases, the E85 portion has a lower carbon intensity, along with cost, than pure electric.

Upon purchase, students at the University of Nebraska’s Husker Motorsports Team assisted RFA’s Robert White with the conversion to flex fuel. This process used a conversion kit from eFlexFuel. The process took under an hour to complete, and now the vehicle can run on any blend from regular unleaded (E10 or E15) to E30 or E85. Click here for photos of this process.

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The vehicle was then transported to the University of California at Riverside for emissions testing on E10, E30 and E85. The emissions testing was completed at the Center of Environment Research & Technology. This testing took more than a month to complete. From there, the vehicle toured the countryside logging data miles for cost comparisons, convenience analysis, and more. In the summer of 2023, a full lifecycle analysis was completed by researchers at the University of Illinois Chicago and Life Cycle Associates that compared full-battery electric vehicles, regular internal combustion engines, and our new creation, the Flex Fuel EV.

In 2023, the vehicle was displayed at:

  • National Ethanol Conference in Orlando, FL
  • Commodity Classic in Orlando, FL
  • Biofuels Academy in Des Moines, IA
  • Government Fleet Expo in Dallas, TX
  • Fuel Ethanol Workshop in Omaha, NE
  • Minnesota Farmfest in Morgan, MN
  • Iowa Science & Sustainability Tour
  • Iowa State Fair
  • Farm Progress Show, Decatur, IL
  • Husker Harvest Days