Banks with E85 ethanol. Real figures by make, model and year of manufacture

Two major manufacturers of ethanol conversion kits, Biomotors and Flexfuel Energy Development, are rubbing their hands. Thanks to rising prices for conventional fuel, they have never sold as many cases as they did in this first quarter of 2022. Thus, the former announces an increase of 186% for March alone compared to last year. when the second claims that there were ten times more bookings in the first three months of 2022 than in the same period of 2021. But to offer you a more accurate inventory of this young market, which has only been open since the end of 2017 in France, the numbers are much harder to come by.

READ. Everything you need to know about E85 fuel: models, boxes, prices…

Growing but limited market

In France, Biomotors and Flexfuel Energy Development are together crushing the market for certified ethanol plants.

Luckily, our partner NGC-Data® was able to help us by providing us with data on private vehicles whose gray card was transforming after switching to ethanol in the first quarter of 2022. Mandatory administrative procedure after installing an approved ethanol box if you want to stay legal. These statistics confirm that the growth in conversion kit installations this year has been impressive. The increase was 344.55% compared to the same period in 2021, which in turn corresponded to a slight decrease of 12.9% compared to 2020. But in absolute terms, the volumes are still quite low on the scale of a country like France. In 2022, only 9,220 private cars were ethanol-adapted, a figure that compares to 1.39 million used cars sold at the same time.

Number of vehicles whose energy was converted to E85 in the 1st quarter of 2020, 2021 and 2022

1 sq. 2020 1 sq. 2021 Evolution 2020/2021 1 sq. 2022 Evolution 2021/2022
Number of buildings 2382 2074 – 12.79% 9220 + 344.55%

READ. Bioethanol E85: industry results in 2021

old cars

peugeot 2008 flex fuel
The most recent cars, such as the second generation Peugeot 2008, very few are equipped with E85 boxes.

Another striking observation is that most of these conversions are for fairly old cars. Almost 1/3 of them were carried out on models over eight years old, and only 386 were carried out on cars under two years old. However, it’s hard to be surprised. Remember that installing an E85 block is never trivial as this fuel is more aggressive than unleaded gasoline. and having a lower calorific value. In addition, the law requires manufacturers to cover parts that come into contact with ethanol, such as the engine, aftertreatment system, tank, or fuel system. But if a problem occurs while the car is still under warranty, there is a risk that the car manufacturer and the body manufacturer will shift the responsibility. With possible lengthy immobilization while their respective experts reach their verdict. Therefore, most motorists prefer to play it safe and wait until the manufacturer’s warranty expires to install the box.

Number of vehicles whose energy has been converted to E85 by age in the first quarter of 2022

Number of buildings Market share Evolution 2021/2022
Less than a year 139 1.5% +67.5%
1 to 2 years 247 2.7% +77.7%
2 to 5 years 3096 33.6% +282.2%
5 to 8 years 2143 23.2% + 376.2%
+ 8 years 3595 39% +507.3%

Several brand surprises

Renault dealership
The first French manufacturer until recently, Renault also ranks first among the brands most frequently equipped with E85 gearboxes.

The list of brands that are most often converted to E85 also does not contain any special surprises. Three French manufacturers have indeed monopolized the podium in a very classic manner, with Renault ahead of Peugeot and Citroën. Losange’s subsidiary, Dacia, is in fourth place. Rather at the rear, some positions are more surprising, as one has to climb up to rank eight to find a Volkswagen, and up to rank ninth to force Toyota out. Thus, these two heavyweights have been overtaken by Ford, which, however, is the only one to offer a wide range of compatible E85s in nine, or Opel and Fiat. Buyers of premium brands do not seem interested in these boxes of ethanol: Audi is only sixteenth, BMW is eighteenth, and Mercedes is twenty-first, with very small volumes. As for Porsche owners, only ten took the plunge in the first quarter of 2022… compared to zero in 2020 and 2021.

Top 20 brands with the most installed boxes in the first quarter of 2022

Position Brand Number of buildings Market share Evolution 2021/2022
one Renault 1562 16.9% + 370.5%
2 Peugeot 1278 13.9% + 334.7%
3 Citroen 992 10.8% +422.1%
4 Dacia 746 8.1% +407.5%
5 Ford 582 6.3% +424.3%
6 Vauxhall 569 6.2% + 321.5%
7 decree 567 6.1% + 320%
eight Volkswagen 477 5.2% +256%
nine Toyota 329 3.6% +291.7%
ten Suzuki 259 2.8% +564.1%
eleven Nissan 226 2.5% + 303.6%
12 seat 157 1.7% +554.2%
thirteen kia 153 1.7% +427.6%
fourteen Hyundai 146 1.6% +421.4%
fifteen Mini 145 1.6% + 367.7%
sixteen Audi 132 1.4% + 355.2%
17 Skoda 117 1.3% +225%
eighteen bmw 99 1.1% +280.8%
nineteen DC 92 one% +253.8%
20 Honda 73 0.8% + 135.5%

READ. Bioethanol: The best-selling used models in 2021

Most of the townspeople

renault clio sales boxes e85
1. Renault Clio: 734 E85 units installed in Q1 2022 (+439.7% compared to 2021)
Dacia Sandero case E85
2. Dacia Sandero: 557 E85 units installed in Q1 2022 (+555.3%% compared to 2021)

In this context, we would not be surprised to find that the models most often adapted for the E85 are also bestsellers on the French market. It is indeed the Renault Clio, longtime queen of new cars and still dominating used cars, which sits in first place with 734 conversions. She is ahead of her cousin Dacia Sandero and the Citroën C3 finishes third. The 208, the first Peugeot, for its part ends behind the Twingo in fifth position, but remember that the city car on the Lion was born only ten years ago and has only two generations. Therefore, in a market where sometimes pride of place is given to old cars, this is inevitably punished.

Renault captur e85 boxes
10. Renault Captur: 180 E85 units installed in Q1 2022 (+239.6% compared to 2021)
fiat e85 boxes
15. Fiat Tipo: 127 E85 units installed in Q1 2022 (+202.4% compared to 2021)

In any case, the classification is dominated by city cars, regardless of whether they are universal or not. The first Captur SUV is indeed only the tenth, and the amazing Fiat Tipo takes the place of the first compact sedan., twelfth overall. Thus, the Italian is ahead of the Volkswagen Golf, which is much older and much more represented in the used car market. But volumes remain low in both cases, with just over 100 boxes installed across France in three months for each of the two models.

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