Maruti Suzuki aims to hit a combined sales figure of two million CNGs and Smart Hybrids under its ‘Mission Green Million’ initiative
Indian four-wheeler manufacturer Maruti Suzuki India Limited (MSIL) has touched a new milestone in the alternative fuel scenario of FY 2019-20. The company sold 1,06,443 factory-spec CNG units across the country and witnessed a 15.5 per cent CAGR (Compound Annual Growth Rate) increase in a span of five years. At present, Maruti Suzuki sells six products with optional ‘S-CNG’ powertrains: Alto, Eeco, WagonR, Tour S, Ertiga and Super Carry.
Back at Auto Expo 2020 (held in early February), Maruti Suzuki introduced its ‘Mission Green Million’ initiative with an aim to sell a second million of ‘greener’ vehicles at a faster rate than the first million. In addition to CNG models, Maruti Suzuki offers mild-hybrid or ‘Smart Hybrid’ variants of major products. The cars are equipped with SHVS (Smart Hybrid Vehicle by Suzuki) technology.
Maruti Suzuki states that its S-CNG products would play a crucial roll in achieving the target of two million ‘cleaner’ vehicles on the road. Kenichi Ayukawa, MD & CEO of Maruti Suzuki India Limited, shared that the growth of CNG vehicles in India complements the government’s vision of reducing oil import and improving the share of natural gas or alternative fuels in the country’s energy sector, from the current 6.2 per cent to 15 per cent by 2030.
He further added that authorities in concern are working towards strengthening the network of CNG fuel pumps in India. In the last six years, 2019 alone saw the instalment of 50% of the current number of CNG fuel pumps. This momentum may have taken a slight fall due to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis but will gain grounds gradually in the months to come. CNG-powered vehicles are primarily used for cab services, commercial purposes or fleet operations and offer a substantial reduction in running costs compared to their petrol-powered counterparts.
There are several advantages of choosing factory-fitted CNG powertrains over aftermarket examples — such as better performance, reliability, operational safety, fuel economy and ease of use. Technical highlights of Maruti Suzuki’s S-CNG powertrains include Micro Switch (ensures the car is off whilst refuelling), Non-Return Valve Mechanism (eliminates fuel leakage), Dual Solenoid System (allows gas flow only when the driver turns on CNG mode) as well as a leak-proof tank design.
For the BS6 era, Maruti Suzuki has opted a petrol-only business strategy. The company previously sourced its diesel power plants from FCA India. Popular Maruti Suzuki products (such as Vitara Brezza and S-Cross) which were available only in a diesel format before come exclusively with a petrol engine now.