"At the time of the 147, the fuel injection system was the carburetor, which at first was not effective in containing the corrosion of ethanol. We, of course, adopted materials that protected the components, but at the same time we were working on reaching another level of technology, which would end up being the double carburetor all the way to the electronic fuel injection", recalls FCA Product Engineering supervisor Ronaldo Ávila. It was precisely the double carburetor technology that, in the early 1990s, brought yet another historic achievement for the brand: the quickest and fastest 1.0 car in the world, the Uno Mille Brio.
The evolution of the injection system improved the mixing of air and fuel in the engines. With this, there were significant gains in performance and, at the same time, consumption reduction. "With research we discovered the high power of ethanol as a gasoline additive. So much so that gasoline marketed today in Brazil is not pure, it contains a percentage of ethanol to, among other reasons, increase its resistance to knocking and improve performance", explains Everton Lopes.
All the baggage that Brazilian engineering acquired with ethanol engines was extremely beneficial in the era of biofuels of the 2000s. However, there were still challenges to be overcome. "Flex cars needed to work well with both gasoline and ethanol and finding the balance was not easy, because of different compression rates, for example", explains Renato Romio, head of the engines and vehicles division of the Mauá Institute of Technology.
At that time Fiat had innovated when it launched the 1.0 flex engines for the Mille Fire, the Palio Fire and the Siena Fire. "It was in 2005, when competitors only had bi-fuel options on larger displacement engines. We were the first to implement it at entry level cars", recalls Ronaldo Avila.