Converting your car to E85 ethanol: which case should you choose?

The E85 box from Flexfuel

Driving on E85 has become an Eldorado: it is the cheapest fuel, as it appears on average at less than 70 cents per liter, i.e. more than half the price of the SP95 E10 (with the current government discount).

Customizing your car to make it compatible has become a real trend and it always allows you to drive by refueling SP95 E10 if necessary.

The savings of running on E85

Superethanol-E85 contains between 65% and 85% ethanol. Made in France, this fuel is not subject to the same fluctuations as oil prices: its prices are very stable.

The price of a full tank is therefore much lower, it is necessary to count on a consumption that will be higher by up to +25% of the fuel consumption. You will therefore have to refuel more often, but it will be at least half the price!

Depending on the vehicle’s fuel consumption and the fluctuating price of unleaded, the savings achieved amount to between 50% and 60% of the fuel budget each month.

Does the installation of an E85 box require the calling of a specialist?

One would have thought that to run on E85 it was imperative to go expensively to a box installation specialist.

But technically this step is not mandatory. Nor is it necessary to change the energy shown on its gray card: the procedure can be much simpler.

Many retailers, such as the largest e-commerce sites in France, offer E85 boxes. Cdiscount offers many bioethanol kits at very attractive prices, enough to tempt those who could not afford to make a transformation at a high price.

These kits come with instructions to do the assembly yourself, and it is always possible to call in a mechanic to carry out the operation.

These sets generally advertise an exposure time limited to only 30 minutes. Of course, it will be necessary to respect the steps, and to perform tests by not immediately filling up completely with E85, but only a quarter of the tank to start.

If you choose to have an approved E85 kit installed by a professional, this will allow you to change the gray card to indicate the new energy available. A free modification, which especially benefits the next used buyer, because the gray card for E85 cars is free in several regions.

Profitability will be slower for an approved kit installed by a professional, with an average price of 700 euros. However, a warranty will be imposed by the manufacturer, which can provide peace of mind.

The E85 kits sold on the market are much more accessible: Barely more than 100 euros for the first prices in 4 cylinders. Enough to make the cost of the kit profitable in barely two full tanks.

How do you know if your car is compatible before placing an order?

An E85 kit is for petrol cars only, leaving out diesel cars. And among petrol cars, not all are compatible. Hybridization is not a problem: good news!

To put it simply: if your car is compatible with SP95 E10 (and it is mentioned behind the fuel flap), then fitting a box is generally possible.

Incompatible cars are those that are too old, homologated before the Euro 3 standards, or newer petrol cars with particulate filters.

The boxes offered on the market must be selected according to the number of cylinders, and also according to the type of plug at the level of the injectors. Another element to take into account: the type of direct or indirect injection, which requires a specific device for each.

And if an engine reprogramming has been done, it will be necessary to return to the original engine programming.

Some cars are compatible with E85 without any box: these are Flexfuel cars sold directly by the manufacturer. Here is the list of new E85 compatible cars in 2022.

An E85 box compatible for 4-cylinder engines and offered for purchase without installation
An E85 box compatible for 4-cylinder engines and offered for purchase without installation

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