Nitin Gadkari to issue order on mandatory flex-fuel engines, BMW to be first
The Centre is all set to make it mandatory for all OEMs in India to manufacture vehicles with flex-fuel engines. Nitin Gadkari, Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH), said that he will soon issue an order which will make it compulsory for all manufacturers producing ICE vehicles to come up with options that can run on more than one fuel.
The decision, which was expected since Gadkari raised the pitch to use flex-fuel engines in an order to reduce dependency on expensive crude oil from abroad, will impact vehicle manufacturers in India.
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Gadkari was quoted by news agency ANI saying, “In the next 3 to 4 months, I will be issuing an order, mandating all vehicle manufacturers to power vehicles with flex engines." Gadkari informed that the first order for a flex engine will be issued to BMW, and gradually to all others. Gadkari also said he had asked Bajaj and TVS to introduce flex engines in their vehicles.
Flex-fuel engines, which will offer a CNG-like option for petrol car owners, is a step towards introducing ethanol-based fuel in India. The Centre recently issued a draft notification in line with Prime Minister Narendra Modi's announcement of advancing the deadline for 20% ethanol blending by 2025 from 2030.
A litre of ethanol is currently priced at ₹62.65 in India, compared to nearly ₹100 for a litre of petrol and above ₹90 for a litre of diesel. This means ethanol or ethanol-blended petrol will reduce the fuel cost of consumers significantly compared to pure fossil fuel vehicles.
Previously, on several occasions, Gadkari had pointed out how ethanol could help the economy at a time when fuel prices have hit record highs. Besides the cost factor, ethanol is less polluting than conventional fuel, which also helps the government's cause to reduce carbon emission in the long run.
Flex-fuel engines are not uncommon especially in countries like Brazil, Canada and United States where it is widely used. With the introduction of flex-fuel engines, vehicle owners will have the choice to driver their cars either fully on petrol or ethanol.