Toyota Readies Biofuel Hybrid

Toyota Motor Corp. plans to launch a flex-fuel version of its Prius hybrid car in Brazil within three years.

The carmaker unveiled a prototype of the car, which can run on any ratio of gasoline and ethanol, in March. The car will go into production as soon as possible, Steve St. Angelo, who heads the company’s operations in Brazil, tells Bloomberg News. He says initial testing and evaluation of the car has exceeded Toyota’s expectations.

To enable the Prius to operate on higher concentrations of ethanol, the engine and fuel system needed to be recalibrated. Modifications also were made to seals and other rubber and plastic components.

Brazil is the world’s largest producer of ethanol. Every car in the country built after 1976 can run on some mix of gasoline and biofuel, including E20 and pure ethanol.