India's ethanol push to come from two-wheelers, first model by 2024: TVS

Society of Indian Automobile Manufactures (SIAM) said that the Indian two-wheeler manufacturers are preparing for mass production of flex fuel vehicle
Union Minister Nitin Gadkari seen checking a flex fuel motorcycle prototype at India Habitat Centre in New Delhi during SIAM's Ethanol Technology Exhibition on Monday, October 12. (PTI)
Union Minister Nitin Gadkari seen checking a flex fuel motorcycle prototype at India Habitat Centre in New Delhi during SIAM's Ethanol Technology Exhibition on Monday, October 12.

The push to convert vehicles from ICE to ethanol-based models is expected to come from the two-wheeler segment in India as auto manufacturers are likely to launch the first flex-fuel two-wheeler in the next two years. At the Ethanol Technology Exhibition, organised by Society of Indian Automobile Manufactures (SIAM) in Delhi on Monday, TVS Motor CEO gave the hint that flex-fuel vehicles is likely to be a reality by 2024. The announcement came in presence of Union minister Nitin Gadkari, who has been pushing the auto manufacturers in India to shift to the cleaner ethanol-based fuel to bring down pollution as well as reduce dependency on costly fuel imports.

KN Radhakrishnan, CEO of TVS Motor as well as the chairman of the council on two-wheelers at SIAM, said, “We are all working under the aegis of Siam with a roadmap for introducing flex fuel vehicles. By October - December 2023, we will all showcase tooled-up pilot of flex fuel two-wheelers. And by September - October 2024, we all will work towards mass production of at least one model of flex fuel two-wheeler per manufacturer." Besides TVS Motor, auto manufacturers like Bajaj Auto, Hero MotoCorp, Honda Motorcycle and Scooter India, Suzuki Motorcycle India, Yamaha Motor India and Royal Enfield participated at the event. Maruti Suzuki was among the carmakers to showcase its first flex fuel car prototype in the form of WagonR.

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Addressing the event, Gadkari reemphasised the need for the industry to shift to ethanol-based fuel. "Every year, (wide) fluctuations in crude oil prices are creating lots of problems...We need to march towards adoption of 100 per cent flex fuel vehicles. We are encouraging lots of industries to start production of ethanol" Gadkari said. He added that 40 per cent of pollution in India is caused by the use of fossil fuel like petrol and diesel.

Union Minister Nitin Gadkari has been instrumental in pushing India's Ethanol Blending Programme. The deadline for auto manufacturers to implementate E-20 compliant vehicles is April 1, 2023. Maruti Suzuki has already announced its commitment to make its entire product range E20 fuel material compliant by March 2023. The deadline for vehicles to be fully E-20 compliant is 2025.

Vinod Aggarwal, president, SIAM, CEO and MD, Volvo Eicher Commercial Vehicles, said, "We are now aligned for rolling out E20 material-compliant vehicles from April 2023 and production of E20-tuned engine vehicles from April 2025 and the Indian automobile industry has developed products to enable this shift. Ethanol adoption, apart from leading to GHG emission reductions, will also help the country reduce its import dependence and thus saving precious foreign exchange, which is aligned with SIAM's vision of Building the Nation Responsibly."

India is one of the top oil importers in the world with a bill that runs into several thousand crore rupees every year. With fuel prices hitting all-time high in the recent months, ethanol-based petrol offers the option to bring the cost down and reduce dependency on the costly import. At the same time, ethanol-based fuel are less polluting than petrol and diesel.

First Published Date: 13 Dec 2022, 09:50 AM IST

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