Holden – Making Strides to Be More Eco-Friendly


Holden vehicles have often been portrayed as environmentally unfriendly gas guzzlers. However, the company has recently taken great strides to change the image of its cars and trucks. Today’s new line of Holden vehicles includes models that are not only more fuel efficient, but are capable of using different types of fuel, including propane and E85 (a mixture of 85% ethanol and 15% unleaded petrol). Some examples of Holden’s environmental approach to automotive technology include the following:

• The recently introduced Series II VE Commodore is engineered to run on E85 bio-fuel. Both of the Commodore’s 3-litre V6 and 6-litre V8 VEII engines are flex-fuel ready, meaning that they can operate on either standard petrol or on E85. A 3.6-litre flex-fuel V6 engine is expected by 2012.

• Holden has improved the fuel economy of its standard petrol engines by adding direct fuel injection. This has resulted in a 2-3% fuel waste reduction for the V6 engines and up to a 6% fuel waste reduction for the V8 engines.

• Holden Special Vehicles now offers the 2011 WM3 Grange, which, in addition to producing 436 horsepower and 406 pound feet of torque, contains a V8 engine that runs on liquid propane or gasoline. Propane, unlike gasoline, produces fewer emissions, and is also more cost effective.

• Offering fuel-efficient and environmentally friendly vehicles is only the beginning. Holden has also taken an interest in the production of the bio-fuel itself. By joining a consortium of companies and the Victorian State Government, Holden hopes to open Australia’s first ethanol plant in Victoria. This plant would produce ethanol from a number of sources, including wood biomass, industrial and construction waste, and even household garbage. Such a production process is referred to as second-generation ethanol production. It differs from first-generation ethanol production in that it does not use up valuable plant products (e.g., sugar) during the generation of ethanol. Instead, materials that are at the end of their life cycle are used. If successful, the consortium could see ethanol production in excess of 200 million litres of ethanol per year.