The World’s First Flex Fuel Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle


RFA is combining technologies to meet tomorrow’s goals today!


The goals of the future are being set, and oftentimes with a specific vehicle in mind: battery electric vehicles (BEV). As we all know, their penetration into the overall fleet will take decades as the vehicles are introduced and infrastructure is built, but that doesn’t mean the goal should wait. The combination of a flex fuel vehicle (FFV) and a BEV is possible today.


The Renewable Fuels Association recently purchased a new 2022 Ford Escape Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV) as our latest vehicle project. The concept is to use this vehicle to demonstrate that ethanol (E85) and electricity can jointly power our vehicles today. In fact, in some cases, the E85 portion has a lower carbon intensity, along with cost, than pure electric.



Upon purchase, students at the University of Nebraska’s Husker Motorsports Team assisted RFA’s Robert White with the conversion to flex fuel. This process used a conversion kit from eFlexFuel. The process took under an hour to complete, and now the vehicle can run on any blend from regular unleaded (E10 or E15) to E30 or E85. Click here or on the images above for more photos of this part of the project.


The vehicle was then transported to the University of California at Riverside for emissions testing on E10, E30 and E85. The emissions testing was completed at the Center of Environment Research & Technology. This testing took more than a month to complete. Next will be a full lifecycle analysis that will compare full-battery electric vehicles, regular internal combustion engines, and our new creation, the Flex Fuel EV. This slide deck explains the what and why of the project along with positive initial results on fuel economy and emissions.

On the Road

Future planned events:

  • DC Auto Show, Washington, DC, January 19-28, 2024

So far in 2023, the vehicle has been displayed at:

  • National Ethanol Conference in Orlando, FL
  • Commodity Classic in Orlando, FL
  • Biofuels Academy in Des Moines, IA
  • Government Fleet Expo in Dallas, TX
  • Fuel Ethanol Workshop in Omaha, NE
  • Minnesota Farmfest in Morgan, MN
  • Iowa Science & Sustainability Tour
  • Iowa State Fair
  • Farm Progress Show, Decatur, IL
  • Husker Harvest Days

Program Supporters

We are grateful for the assistance we have received from these organizations:


  • Colorado Corn Administrative Committee
  • Corn Marketing Program of Michigan
  • Illinois Corn Marketing Board
  • Indiana Corn Marketing Council
  • Iowa Corn Promotion Board
  • Kansas Corn Commission
  • Minnesota Corn Research and Promotion Council
  • Missouri Corn Merchandising Council
  • National Corn Growers Association
  • Nebraska Ethanol Board
  • North Dakota Corn Council
  • Ohio Corn Marketing Council
  • Pearson Fuels
  • Renew Kansas
  • Renewable Fuels Nebraska
  • South Dakota Corn Utilization Council