While the price of Unleaded 95 often exceeds 1.65 euros per liter throughout the territory, the bioethanol enjoyed a dazzling success. Also called E85, this fuel made up of up to 85% beet and wheat seduces many motorists for its low cost (0.69 euro per liter on average). Want to get started ? Compatibility, cost, car insurance… Here is 5 things to know if you want to drive on E85 and reduce – at the same time – your carbon footprint.
1) Is bioethanol compatible with all vehicles?
No less than 2,700 service stations now distribute Superethanol E85. And when you go to fill up your car, the attractive price of this fuel has certainly caught your attention. But does bioethanol work for all vehicles?
only cars compatible with 95 lead-free gasoline can run on E85. If you drive a diesel, you can therefore give up on this less polluting and cheaper fuel. Also note that the conversion to bioethanol is easier for cars registered after 2000.
In any case, ask a professional (dealer, mechanic, etc.) to check that your vehicle is indeed eligible before starting the process.
To run on Superethanol E85 without damaging your car’s engine, you must have a homologated box. Positioned under the bonnet, it measures the proportion of ethanol in the tank and adapts the quantity of fuel to be injected into the engine.
Be careful: there are several offers of boxes on the Internet at very different prices. Always look for approved equipment to be sure of their effectiveness: several manufacturers produce these conversion kits, such as FlexFuel, Biomotors or Borel.
The affiliated garages are now numerous to offer E85 boxes as well as their installation: find out from professional networks such as Point S, Norauto or Speedy.
3) Between the price of the box and bioethanol, is running on E85 really profitable?
It is necessary to count between 600 and 1,500 euros on average for the installation of a bioethanol box on your vehicle, but some regions cover part of the costs*:
- South Region: bioethanol transition check of 250 euros for the supply and installation of the approved box (1 vehicle per person for individuals and up to 10 vehicles per company)
- Grand Est: subsidy capped at 500 euros for a maximum of 5,000 requests (only for individuals)
- Hauts-de-France: 40% of the conversion cost, up to a limit of 400 euros including tax (only for individuals)
*information collected as of December 1, 2021, see conditions for each region.
The garage you call generally begins by carrying out a pre-visit in order to confirm the compatibility of your vehicle and make an initial diagnosis. If you are eligible, theinstallation of an ethanol kit understand :
- the homologated box and the necessary parts
- and adjustments depending on the vehicle
Only one authorized garage ensures that the housing is installed without the risk of damaging your car.
The installation of an E85 kit therefore requires an initial investment but which can be reduced thanks to regional subsidies. The cost of Superethanol is also well below that of Unleaded 95: less taxed, it costs on average twice cheaper.
However, you should know that you consume between two and three times more bioethanol compared to Unleaded 95. Converting the vehicle to Superethanol-E85 is therefore less profitable for small rollers.
The advantages of running on E85
- Low bioethanol prices
- Reduction of CO2 emissions
- Less noisy motor
4) What steps to take with your car insurance?
When you equip your car with a conversion unit allowing it to run on E85 or Superethanol, you must redo your gray card. Indeed, it indicates the type of fuel used and it is therefore necessary to update it. In this, it is very important to communicate this new gray card to your insurer.
Since your vehicle is no longer exactly the same as when you took out your auto insurance, a endorsement should be included in the contract. This can lead to a rate change. Some insurers want to encourage eco-responsible initiatives by their policyholders and thus lower the price of insurance following the installation of the box.
5) Can E85 fuel damage your engine?
If you call on an approved professional and your box is approved, your vehicle is in no danger. It can however be less efficient in winter when it is cold: starting may be more difficult and it is recommended to have a fully charged battery.
Also be aware that the installation of an E85 kit can void the manufacturer’s warranty but the case manufacturer covers the parts that come in contact with the fuel. We recommend that you contact your dealer to find out if the manufacturer’s warranty is void in your case.