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Ron LambertyMarch 28, 20242 min read

ICE, ICE, Baby. (With E85 and a Battery)

By now, many of you have seen the article floating around the internet challenging the reader to imagine living in a world where all cars were electric vehicles (EVs) when a new type of vehicle engine had just been invented. The new engine would reduce the weight of a vehicle by 50 percent, in turn reducing the wear and tear on roads by up to 75%. Refueling would only take a couple of minutes rather than the 20 to 30 minutes required to charge an EV using even the fastest chargers, and because it wouldn’t rely on battery power storage, vehicles wouldn’t require as much steel and would nearly eliminate the use of rare earth minerals, extracted in environmentally damaging and often socially unacceptable ways. The new engine would have a range of up to four times a fully charged EV in ALL weather conditions, and to top it all off, cars and light trucks powered by these new engines would sell for half the price of a new EV.

Of course, the “new” engine referred to is the internal combustion engine (ICE) and the post appeals to people because rather than simply attacking EVs, it addresses the most common consumer EV concerns by promoting the strengths of ICE vehicles we’re all comfortable with and have relied on for decades. However, just as EV promotion often conveniently ignores potential negatives, the pro-ICE piece leaves out its biggest negative – the gasoline it combusts internally - which is frankly the reason the discussion exists in the first place.

But let’s not let a good meme go to waste – what if we changed ICE fuel to a plant-based fuel made from a carbon-neutral crop that grows by sucking sky garbage out of the air and as the plant grows, it enriches soil carbon? And what if high protein food is created when the fuel is squeezed out of the plant, and the fuel costs less than gasoline? Who wouldn’t want one of those vehicles?

What if we went a step further and made the vehicle a hybrid – the best of both worlds? We would have… well, we’d have HEFF, ACE's hybrid electric flex fuel vehicle. After 2 ½ years of operation, HEFF's emissions running on E85 are the same or lower than similar sized EVs from the same year. Certainly, anyone serious about reducing carbon pollution as quickly as possible would be a fan of vehicles like that, wouldn’t they?

ACE isn’t alone in thinking the last vehicle is a good idea. Toyota tested the idea in 2016 and started selling an HEFFV (real original, Toyota) in Brazil in 2024. Some reports say Toyota’s sold 60,000 HEFFVs so far this model year, nearly half of all cars they sold in Brazil last year. Whether that’s right or wrong, it's enough that some US enviros are blaming the HEFFV for slow EV sales in Brazil. Maybe we could provide US EV promoters with another excuse for slow EV sales by selling HEFFVs here! You’re welcome.