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CNG and LNG cars are viable alternatives till electric cars become affordable

4520 Viewed Jacob Martin Comments Off on CNG and LNG cars are viable alternatives till electric cars become affordable

India has plans to promote the use of more efficient CNG and LNG cars till electric cars become mainstream. Globally, India is the fourth largest importer of crude oil. In recent years, the Indian automobile market has seen exponential growth. In a time like this, the nation is strained by the heavy cost of importing oil and health hazards due to the increasing levels of pollution in its cities.

The world is moving towards more efficient hybrid and fully electric cars. Toyota Prius Prime is a well known hybrid car that offers an astonishing  mileage of 133 mpg-e. With its battery fully charged, the Prius hybrid can cover 100 km while consuming just 1.7 liters of petrol.

Government’s focus on CNG might be confusing for some manufacturers. On a global level, car marques are working towards electrification of the auto industry and meeting that coveted zero emission standard. Yes, India’s final target is reaching that zero emission level. But until we have the infrastructure for affordable Electrical Vehicles (EVs), CNG and LNG run vehicles will help us curb costs and reduce pollution levels in tightly packed urban spaces.

The government with its major push towards CNG and LNG in the personally driven vehicle segment has planned to open 10,000 gas stations by 2030. The plan will expand the network of 1,424-odd gas stations to a staggering 10,000 gas stations. The majority of the current gas stations are located in cities like Delhi, Mumbai, and Gujarat. The oil ministry is working to make CNG and LNG easily accessible within city-limits and national highways. The proposed plan will see the expansion of CNG gas stations to 300 districts in the nation. That number would encapsulate half of the country’s geographic area. With the plan in full force and transition of prospective buyers to CNG and LNG, India could potentially save Rs 2 lakh crore on fuel bills.

CNG is a cheaper alternative to petrol and diesel, both. At current prices, it stands 41-62 % cheaper. The total cost of ownership of a CNG vehicle come around to be 20% cheaper than petrol or diesel powered vehicle. The initial cost of buying a CNG vehicle is about 40,000-50,000 rupees more than a conventionally powered petrol vehicle. One can easily recover that additional expense within 12 months of using the vehicle (Depends on distance covered).

A price-conscious market like India is yet to tap the potential of CNG. Many companies like Hyundai Motor India Ltd and Maruti Suzuki India Ltd have a lineup of vehicles that have standard CNG fitment. These companies have been lobbying with the government to promote CNG. Maruti will benefit a lot from this move as it sells 7 cars with factory fitted CNG cars – Ertiga, Dzire, Eeco, Alto, Celerio, Wagon R and Carry. Currently, the company only registers a 5% sale of CNG vehicles.

The government’s stance towards prioritizing the use of CNG for transportation offers remarkable growth potential for CNG powered vehicles in India.

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