Branson having another crack at BioPower

Given that the whole E85 thing challenges those who run everything make oil for a living it requires a reasonable amount of support from government to succeed. Saab are early adopters of E85 technology and make it even more attractive through the application of turbocharging so they’re benefitting enourmously in those few countries where E85 is receiving good support from governements so far. Sweden and Ireland are two countries that come to mind.

Saab Great Britain have been lobbying for more support for some time and took up a very clever strategic partnership with Richard Branson of the Virgin Group. While Saab’s lobbying efforts have resulted in small gains, perhaps Sir Dick is going to make some inroads towards achieving what might be the holy grail of E85 success: exemption.

Sir Richard Branson’s biofuel company car, used to highlight his green credentials, is being run on unleaded petrol…..

….Unfortunately for Virgin, the special bioethanol E85 fuel – a mixture of 85 per cent bioethanol and 15 per cent unleaded petrol – needed to run the car is not sold in London.

The nearest outlet is a petrol station in Crowborough in East Sussex, a 100-mile roundtrip that takes over three hours….

….The Virgin boss will now write to London Mayor Ken Livingstone asking that bioethanol and other biofuel-run cars are made exempt from the congestion charge to encourage London petrol stations to sell the alternative fuel at their pumps.

Morrisons, the supermarket chain and the only supplier of bioethanol E85 in Britain, has promised to convert more pumps if the Saabs, several hundred of which have now been sold here, are exempted from the charge – just as hybrid and electric- powered vehicles already are…..

Given that Branson is already looking to invest big bucks in biofuel and has a track record of succeeding in seemingly odd ventures, it’s a fair proposition that his ideas may at least be listened to by Mayor Livingstone.

Despite their constant efforts, I’m not sure that Saab GB has even got that far yet.

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  1. i’m all for Saab leading the charge in this arena, but i’m not sure government favoritism is the best route. branson has the money, why doesn’t he open filling stations of his own?

    (the fact that hybrids here in the California get a free ride in carpool lanes is a joke.) the best product should win out because it’s the best — not because it had an unfair advantage….my $.02…

  2. Two comments:
    1. This is THE Achilles heel of the E85 concept. You must completely duplicate the existing fuel infrastructure (distribution and manufacturing) for what little difference the technology brings to the environment.
    2. Who do you think will end up making the stuff? The oil companies! They’re happily getting into the marketing aspects of the fuel here, but they’ve been timid to invest much until it’s certain.

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