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Ethanol and electricity: Itaipu develops hybrid bus
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At the request of president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, Itaipu has been developing Brazil’s first hybrid bus. The goal is to make the ethanol- and electricity-powered vehicle be the main means of transportation at the two main sports events to be held in the country over the next decade – the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Olympic Games, in Rio de Janeiro. However, the debut and introduction of the prototype is estimated to take place way before that. It will be in Foz do Iguaçu during the Mercosul (Southern Common Market) Summit Meeting scheduled for December 13 through 17.

According to the Electric Vehicle (EV) project coordinator, engineer Celso Novais, from the Sustainable Electric Mobility Office, the bus will seat at least 34 passengers. Enough to transport authorities during the Mercosul Summit Meeting – among them, all Southern American presidents.

Novais highlights that the hybrid vehicle’s main feature is that it is environmentally friendly by generating zero CO2 in the carbon cycle. That happens because the CO2 burned while the ethanol-powered engine is working is offset by the same gas being absorbed while sugarcane is produced.
Novais said the project was designed about a year ago and gained momentum in June at the 10th edition of the Michelin Challenge Bibendum, in Rio de Janeiro. At the event, Antonio Otelo Cardoso, Itaipu’s technical director, met with EV partners who promised to expedite the hybrid bus project.
The project partners are Mascarello, from Cascavel (PR), manufacturer of the body; Weg, an engine maker from Santa Catarina; Rio Grande do Sul’s Euroar, a bus air-conditioner manufacturer; Eletra Industrial, from São Bernardo do Campo (SP), which integrated and assembles the bus; besides automakers Tutto Trasporti, also from Rio Grande do Sul, and Mitsubishi, located in Catalão (GO).