GM dares to dream of E85
MIKE Devereux could be the Kevin Costner of Australian motoring. The head ofGMHolden is not an actor, but his E85 push with the latest Commodore is a lot like Costner’s work in the movie Field of Dreams.
If you haven’t seen the film, Costner builds a baseball diamond on his farm in rural America and the ghosts of many of the game’s greats come to play.
In Devereux’s case, he is building a bio-ethanol field for Australia’s oil companies to play on.
Caltex is already in the game, with just over 30 stations up and running for the new fuel and more than 100 planned for next year.
There have been bio-ethanol cars in Australia before, usually with a Saab badge, but the VEII is the first large-scale push into the E85 fuel which could— emphasis on could— become a very big deal for local drivers.
The most important thing is that it is renewable and not drawn from petroleum.
There is still 15 per cent unleaded in the brew, to help with things such as cold starting, but it’s basically a plant-based fuel made in Australia from sugar cane waste.
Even better, a global consortium— headed by General Motors and using technology developed by a company called Coskata— eventually plans to make ethanol from household rubbish.
Right now, Devereux admits very few Commodore customers will get much benefit from the E85 work. Some will see the 34¢ advantage over a litre of premium unleaded— the Caltex promise— and there are fleet buyers who will see the green credentials of the fuel. But he says Australia has to start somewhere. ‘‘We’re laying it down, taking a leadership position,’’ Devereux tells carsGuide.