By Tanvi Mehta and Aditi Shah
NEW DELHI (Reuters) – Toyota Motor Corp on Tuesday unveiled its flex fuel hybrid sedan in India, kicking off a pilot project in a market where the government is pushing automakers to switch to clean fuels.
The sedan, imported from Toyota Brazil, is powered by flex fuel technology, which allows the engine to run on fuel blended with a higher percentage of ethanol, reducing the consumption of gasoline, along with a hybrid powertrain.
Although adoption of electric vehicles is picking up at a slow pace in India, the road transport minister wants carmakers to develop flex fuel engines that will use locally made ethanol as the dominant fuel and reduce the country’s dependence on petrol which it imports.
Toyota’s pilot project will increase India’s energy independence, in line with the government’s target for self sufficiency in energy by 2047, Toyota Kirloskar’s vice chairman Vikram Kirloskar said at the launch in New Delhi.
India, which is a major producer of sugar, is keen to boost its usage of ethanol, like bigger producer Brazil where sale of flex fuel vehicles is already popular.
The objective of the pilot is to see how the car operates in India and increase awareness of the technology.
(This story has been corrected to say the sedan is imported from Toyota Brazil in second paragraph)
(Reporting by Tanvi Mehta, editing by Ed Osmond)