For 22 years, Toyota Motor Corp. has made hybrid cars that don’t require drivers to choose between running on gas or electricity. In October it will add a third option: ethanol.
The Japanese manufacturer will package its ultrapragmatic drivetrain in an all-new Corolla sedan that will be bolted together at its plant in Sao Paulo. Toyota is billing the vehicle as the cleanest hybrid ever made.
Ethanol has long been a popular fuel in Brazil, where it’s brewed fairly efficiently from fast-growing sugar cane. Because the plants process CO₂ as they grow, ethanol is considered a renewable fuel; burning a gallon of it releases only 10% to 20% as much carbon as burning a gallon of traditional gas, according to Unica, a sugar association.
“The goal is to make a car with zero carbon emission; that’s the industry’s race,” said Ricardo Bastos, Toyota’s head of government relations in Brazil. “With ethanol, we’re closer if you consider the whole cycle, well to wheel.”