Following four years of investment, the dream is becoming a reality.
A few months subsequent the approval of a new Israeli standard for the alternative fuel M15 (gasoline containing 15% Methanol), Fiat Chrysler has launched a new vehicle series FIAT500-M15 designed for travel on this type of fuel.
The new model named FIAT500-M15 is designed for travel on M15 and can also drive on regular gasoline; that is to be able to refuel the vehicle at any time with any of the above fuels or a mixture thereof. The new car is expected to be marketed in Israel by the official importer of Fiat Chrysler Group, the Mediterranean Car Agency.
A pre-production version of the vehicle was displayed during the two-day annual meeting of the national Fuel Choices Summit, and those interested were offered a short test drive.
Dor Chemicals began a series of experiments in 2012 in accordance with the Prime Minister’s Office - Fuel Choice Initiative’s vision to reduce the dependence on oil and oil substitutes for transport to 60% by 2025, while at the same time Methanol will constitute approximately 25% of the mixes in transportation fuels. Methanol is produced from natural gas and hence may be the first actual "Israeli fuel for transportation". The project was accompanied throughout its entirety by the relevant ministries - Energy, Transport and Environmental Protection and received real support by them throughout the entire project within the framework of the Fuel Choice Initiatives program of the Prime Minister’s office.
Throughout the four years test program, vehicles running on Methanol-gasoline blends were examined numerous times regarding their performance compared to gasoline; and Methanol has been shown to have the following benefits: Energy savings, a significant reduction in vehicle emissions, and reduction of cost of travel per kilometer. Findings from tests conducted in laboratories in Israel, as well as tests carried out by Fiat Chrysler and at the Joint Research Center (JRC) European official Institute, show that as the Methanol percentage in the gasoline increases so do the above mentioned benefits.
Dor Chemicals plans to begin marketing M15 beginning 2017 with the entry of the Arrangements Law into force, which in order to encourage the use of Methanol will include several sections in this matter: Reduced excise tax for M15, Grants for the first gas stations adapting themselves to market the new fuel, Purchase tax adjustments on vehicles approved for Methanol fuel in accordance with the vehicle’s emissions, and Accelerated depreciation for investment of facilities producing Methanol gasoline blends.
Yossi Antverg, Methanol Project Director at Dor Chemicals: "We will begin marketing the M15 in the first few months of 2017 with approximately five gas stations. An additional five will join every quarter throughout the year. Since there is no problem for vehicles such as the Fiat 500 fueling M15 to fuel also with regular 95 gasoline, there is no problem for the gas stations layout to evolve gradually. Since, the ability to convert the vehicles, stations and entire logistics system to Methanol is simple and fast, with the aid of the green taxation law, which encourages the use of blended fuel, we expect additional automobile manufacturers to adopt the use of engines which can run on this fuel."
Eyal Rosner, Head of the fuel choice initiative, Prime Minister's Office: "The launch of a vehicle running on Methanol is the fulfillment of the vision of the national Fuel Choices Initiative program. For the first time ever, a global automotive company brings out a car model, which is able to drive on any type of liquid fuel while allowing its owner the freedom to choose the type of fuel. We hope that this initiative of Fiat Chrysler will expand to additional automotive companies further increasing the selection of options available to consumers. We intend to continue increasing the use of alternative technologies to operate vehicles while reducing both cost for consumers and air pollution. "
The marketing of M15 will begin in a number of gas stations in cooperation with major oil companies, most of which have already expressed interest. Dor’s Methanol for transportation activities sparked interest around the world throughout the entire project time from many sources in both the automotive and transportation arena as well as from the fuel sectors and we expect additional automobile manufacturers to adopt the matter as was the case in Brazil with the adoption of Ethanol as a blend for fuel. Dor in collaboration with Fiat-Chrysler plans to continue to explore and develop the applications of Methanol gasoline blends in particular and as an alternative fuel in the automotive industry as a whole.