Govt of India has laid out new fuel emission norms to reduce pollution in cities with high number of cars. To meet these new norms, diesel engines will have to undergo huge amount of R&D, this in turn will make cars really expensive. Even cars with small diesel engines could get expensive by up to Rs 2 lakhs.
In order to avoid making cars expensive, couple of manufacturers are planning to launch company fitted CNG variants of their current line-up. As per Live Mint, one such car maker is Maruti Suzuki India.
The country’s largest passenger car maker targets 12 percent of their total annual sales to come from CNG powered vehicles by 2022. This translates into about 2 lakh CNG cars per year. That’s a huge number, when you compare to their current sales number of CNG vehicles. From 2010/11 to Dec 2018, Maruti managed to sell 5 lakh cars. So how does Maruti plan to achieve aim of selling 2 lakh CNG cars per year by 2022?
The new fuel efficiency norms coming into effect dictate that all cars have to become 10 percent more fuel efficient between 2017-2022 and 30 percent or more fuel efficient from 2022 onwards (as compared to current fuel efficiency figures). In view of these new eco friendly initiatives, Maruti Suzuki will be introducing a new range of vehicles running on CNG fuel. These may include the Swift, DZire, Baleno, Ignis and Ertiga. Launching of more CNG options in current line-up will help boost sales of CNG cars. To speed up the installation of CNG kits, Maruti Suzuki is in the process of asking dealerships to procure licenses for setting up CNG dispensing units.
The Government is also making efforts to set up a network of CNG pumps, with around 10,000 such units set up planned in coming years, across the country. The use of CNG as an alternative to petrol and diesel fuel will have an immediate and positive effect on reducing pollution. CNG, when compared to petrol or diesel, emits around 25 percent less CO2 during combustion. CNG is also seen to burn more efficiently than the other two more commonly used fuels.
Apart from Maruti Suzuki going the CNG way, other automakers such as Honda and Hyundai are also mulling launch of more CNG variants. Mahindra and Volkswagen are also set to do away with diesel engines and invest more into development of CNG options. Suzuki, Maruti Suzuki’s parent company is also collaborating along with Toyota Motor Corp in bringing in full hybrid cars into India by 2021.
Volkswagen too is working towards offering more fuel efficient options in India. They have already introduced cars with a natural gas engine, which the company calls TGI powertrain, in Germany. The new compact SUV, being planned by Volkswagen in India by 2020-21 will also see no diesel engine option. Ford launched Aspire CNG yesterday. Future of diesel engine gets grim every passing day.