Holden has been awarded $39.8 million by the Federal Government, as part of its revived Green Car Innovation Fund, to assist with funding technologies designed to make the forthcoming VF Commodore lighter and more fuel efficient.

The announcement was made today by Senator the Hon. Kim Carr, Minister for Innovation, Industry, Science and Research, at the Holden’s manufacturing plant at Elizabeth, South Australia.

As first reported in Wheels, May 2011 issue, Holden today confirmed that the next Commodore would employ innovations, such as the use of aluminium body panels and aerodynamic parts, to cut fuel consumption by more than seven percent compared with today’s VE Series II range.

Currently a base model Commodore Omega is rated at 9.1L/100km (ADR 82/01 combined cycle). Using Holden’s target percentage reduction, that figure will drop to at least 8.4L/100km.

Holden uses the rule that one kilo of weight saved equals an 0.02L/100km improvement in fuel consumption. An alloy bonnet is said to save 8.8kg, low rolling-resistance tyres a further 5.8kg, delivering an 0.3L/100km reduction. That leaves drivetrain and aero improvements to bring home the remaining 0.4L/100km needed to achieve the 8.4L/100km target. Refinements to the Australian-built Alloytec V6 and aero improvements such as reducing the VE’s flared front guards are expected.

Although the VF Commodore isn’t expected until 2013, later this year Holden will introduce a dedicated-LPG Commodore and E85 flex-fuel capability on 3.6-litre models.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard announced the scrapping of the Green Car Innovation Fund back in January to allow the Government to contribute to rebuilding efforts due to the Queensland floods. With the scheme now revived, and with cash-strapped GM reluctant to splurge on engineering projects, Holden is no doubt glad that it has secured the funds to help engineer VF. The $39.8 million government grant announced today is in addition to the $149 million the company received to build the Cruze small car in Australia.