The Car Geek: Tin Lizzie, Mother of Ethanol Vehicles

The Car Geek

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Tin Lizzie, Mother of Ethanol Vehicles

Do you know that the use of ethanol in automobiles goes back to the good ol days of Tin Lizzie (or Henry Fords Model T)?
Well, historically speaking, the Model T cars were the first widely sold vehicles in the United States that used ethanol. They were mostly used by farmers who were capable of making their own ethanol. In fact Model T’s of the old times can still run on todays E85, which is a mixture of 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline. This is because Henry Ford designed the Tin Lizzies to work on either ethanol or gasoline.

The successor to the Model T, the Model A, likewise was an early version of FFVs. As a more modern car, it provided users more convenience in accommodating different blends of alcohol and gasoline through a driver control on the dash. It has a knob that can be turned to control air fuel mixture and the burning of the alcohol and gasoline in different proportions. This vehicle can also run on today’s E85 like the Tin Lizzie.

As time passed by, however, the less expensive gasoline became the dominant fuel used by most vehicles. Today as environment issues are being raised against the automakers, more alternatives to gasoline are being developed and applied to modern cars. The use of flexible fuel engines is again being promoted by several auto makers, including Ford, which has used it since the Henry Fords time.

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