With government policy favouring flex-fuel engines, it is possible that carmakers like Tata Motors are working proactively on the transition
A new Nexon variant has been spotted on road tests, which could be equipped with a hybrid petrol powertrain. This follows earlier reports in 2018, which stated that Tata Motors is working on a hybrid system for Nexon. It was indicated that orders have been placed for thousands of electric junction boxes, which is a key component of a hybrid powertrain. However, it is not entirely certain if the new test mule is the hybrid Nexon.
New Tata Nexon Test Mule – mild or strong hybrid
As of now, there’s no official word from Tata Motors regarding hybrid powertrain for Nexon. Another thing that is unclear is whether Nexon will get mild hybrid or strong hybrid powertrain. Considering the sub-4-meter SUV segment, it is likely that a mild-hybrid powertrain will make more sense from a cost perspective.
A strong hybrid may push up prices, which may not be a favourable development for Nexon. One of the reasons why Nexon is preferred is because it is among the competitively priced SUVs. If Tata is working on a hybrid version of Nexon, there’s a greater possibility that it will be equipped with a mild-hybrid powertrain.
Nexon flex-fuel variant
New Nexon test mule could also be a flex-fuel variant. The assumption makes sense, as government has been strongly supporting introduction of flex-fuel engines in India. Talks have already been held with some carmakers, who have expressed their willingness to manufacture flex-fuel vehicles. To promote flex-fuel vehicles, government has covered it under Production Linked Incentive (PLI) scheme.
Apart from BS6 compliant (E 85) flex-fuel engine, other related components are now covered under PLI scheme. It includes components like ethanol sensor, electronic control unit (ECU), heating control unit, heating element and heated fuel rail. Most of the auto components that are needed for a flex-fuel car have been covered under PLI scheme. This will encourage manufacturers to shift to flex-fuel cars.
It is possible that flex-fuel engines could also be made mandatory in the near future. Shift to flex-fuel engines will allow the country to cut down its oil import bill. In the initial phase, the plan is to achieve a 20% mixture of ethanol with petrol by 2025. This will be increased gradually to achieve 85% ethanol mixture.
Tata Nexon CNG
Apart from these, Tata Motors also has plans to launch CNG option in their Sub Rs 10 lakh cars. Tata will launch their first CNG car next year. This could be in the form of Tiago CNG. Post that, CNG options are likely to be extended to others – Tigor, Altroz, and Nexon.
It remains to be seen what exactly Tata has planned for Nexon. The SUV is among the bestsellers in sub-4-meter SUV segment whereas Nexon EV is the top selling electric car in the country.
In its current format, Nexon is offered with a 1.2 litre turbo petrol motor and a 1.5 litre turbo diesel motor. Nexon petrol makes 120 ps at 5,500 rpm and 170 Nm at 1,750-4,000 rpm. The diesel variant churns out 110 ps at 4,000 rpm and 260 Nm at 1,500-2,750 rpm. Transmission options include 6-speed manual and 6-speed AMT for both engines.