This dual fuel Focus is substantially cheaper to run, as there is no duty on bioethanol. You can buy it from any Ford dealer at no extra cost. The catch? There aren't many petrol stations where you can fill up with bioethanol.

What's new?A flex-fuel Focus, that is equally happy to run on pure ethanol, pure petrol or any blend of the two.The environmental benefits are compelling: burning ethanol produces no sulphur dioxide and less CO2 than petrol. It can be dispensed by the same fuelling infrastructure we have now and, with a few revisions, can be used in regular petrol engines. Most importantly, it is renewable.You can order this car today from any Ford dealership, although taking advantage of the dual-fuel capability will prove difficult if you don’t live in Somerset. This is the only area with an ethanol production and supply initiative to date.What's it like?Exactly like driving a standard petrol Focus. The engine is initially eager, but lacks torque further up the rev range. It isn’t slow, but it would benefit from a turbocharger – as seen in Saab’s bio-ethanol engines – to help provide some mid-range urgency.It still emits its fair share of carbon dioxide too, sitting in band E. The difference is that the amount emitted has also been absorbed by the maize, wheat or whatever plant grown to produce it.The versatile 1.8-litre petrol receives strengthened valves and valve seats along with new material for its pipework and fueltank for ethanol compatability, which actually produces more energy per unit than petrol. Ford have found that E85 - an 85% ethanol to 15% petrol mix – actually increases power from 123bhp to 128bhp.Fuel economy, however, is not so impressive. Autocar discovered an ethanol test range of two-hundred miles between fill-ups, though the lack of duty on ethanol will more than make up for this.Should I buy one?It’s a great technological innovation and we praise Ford for offering such an environmentally aware product at no extra cost. But the infrastructure is lacking to take advantage of such a car. To become a real alternative for the British consumer, bio-ethanol awaits the support of the government. With a proposal to see 5 per cent of all fuels sold in the UK by 2010 to be bio-ethanol, initial indications look good.Jon Quirk

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