WIT Press

The Brazilian Experience Of Flex-fuel Vehicles Technology: Towards Low Carbon Mobility


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Paper DOI



WIT Press


D. M. Vieira do Nascimento


Emerging countries are central to the climate change policy, in which the transport system plays a key role. These countries still have the majority of their traffic infrastructure based on individual-mobility meaning that public transport and alternative means of transport are not a priority yet for many reasons. As a consequence, rising CO2 emissions remain an important constraint towards sustainability in these regions. Taking into consideration the Brazilian example, this study analyses the Brazilian experience in developing and producing flex-fuel vehicles (FFV) which are cars that can run with both gasoline and bioethanol produced from sugarcane with the so-called advanced engines. It is argued here that the FFV technology developed in Brazil is an important mitigation initiative towards low-carbon urban centres and a great example of innovation in the Brazilian automotive sector. This research uses the organizational learning literature and applies the case study method to demonstrate how the process of technology transfer occurs among companies involved with this Brazilian technology, showing case-particularities and factors that facilitate or hinder the knowledge transfer process. For example, results show that some institutional aspects in the Brazilian bioethanol industry were crucial to turn this technology – initially developed to contribute to the country´s energy security – into a very successful example of mitigation in the national mobility sector. Interactions among the actors within the chain, labour mobility, effective participation of research institutions and the leader role of the automaker’s suppliers all enabled the rise of learning processes which were essential to the technology transfer process.


Brazilian flex-fuel vehicles, organizational learning, mitigation technologies, technology transfer.