As the Supreme Court is busy banning bigger engined diesel vehicles and taxing smaller engined ones in Delhi, the government of India is working on a policy to create a positive environment for flex-fuel vehicles (with engines that can run on 100% ethanol as well as petrol) across the nation. Speaking at the Annual General Meeting of the Indian Sugar Mills Association (IMSA), Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari, a formal announcement on flex-fuel vehicles in India will be out on January 26. He called upon the sugar industry to ramp up their production of ethanol to support the policy. For flex-fuel vehicles to be effective in India, the country’s ethanol production should me increased manifold. India achieved 2.5% ethanol blend in petrol last year and ISMA supplied 66 crore litres of ethanol for the purpose. This year, the organization has signed a contract to supply 104 crore litres as the country is looking to raise the blend to 5%.
Scania has already stated pilot testing of ethanol powered city bus in India.
For ethanol to be used as fuel in its own right rather than as a blend for petrol, the nation needs to have massive infrastructure and suitable policy. Flex-fuel vehicles in India would go a long way in reducing the country’s dependability on crude oil imports and cut pollution significantly as ethanol powered vehicles emit up to 80% less CO2 compared to fossil fuel powered vehicles.
The transport minister stated that he had asked Volkswagen to make flex-fuel vehicles for India. It’s to be noted that all major global OEMs have rich experience in flex-fuel technology since countries like Brazil have implemented it long ago. More automakers will eventually join the movement.