For a long time, Compressed Natural Gas-powered cars have been less popular with private car buyers. One of the hurdles being, CNG-dispensing infrastructure was not as widespread as that for petrol and diesel. But all that is changing rapidly and there’s never been a better time to buy a CNG car. Due to the state of the fuel economy and eco-friendly nature of CNG, the Indian government is also investing heavily to make it easier for car buyers to adopt CNG vehicles.
Positive Steps Towards CNG Adoption by the Indian Government
In Sep 2018, the Indian Ministry of Transport announced that electric vehicles and vehicles running on Compressed Natural Gas will no longer require permits to ply on roads. These permits required by commercial vehicles, include the goods carrier permit, cab permit etc. This decision of forgoing the requirement of these permits for CNG based vehicles will now encourage the use of CNG vehicles for commercial usage.
The Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas has recently unveiled the Natural Gas Infrastructure Development Plan which aims to establish 10,000 CNG gas stations in the next 10 years.
Under this plan over 70,000 crores have been invested in setting up of the City Gas Distribution (CGD) network, which will help in the aforementioned expansion to 10,000 stations from the existing 1400+ stations in India at present.
Automobile Companies Pushing the CNG Agenda in Right Direction
Maruti Suzuki, India’s largest automobile company has been leading this wave of change by being the first automobile brand to introduce factory-fitted CNG cars which overcome the pitfalls of retro-fitted CNG cars. The company has been at the helm of creating CNG cars that provide performance which is far superior when compared to after-market fitment of CNG in vehicles, thanks to their technology that comes with dual-interdependent ECUs (Engine Control Unit), which ensures superior performance.
Besides pioneering the CNG technology, Maruti Suzuki does everything to pre-empt and address the concerns of customers looking to invest in CNG cars. They have the highest number of service stations (3500 +) across India, which makes them a de-facto choice while purchasing a CNG vehicle.
With constant evolution of CNG technology in Maruti Suzuki’s R&D facilities, today, Maruti Suzuki offers factory-fitted CNG across their portfolio from Hatchbacks to the MUV segment.
The combined efforts of the government and automobile manufactures like Maruti Suzuki could result in an almost 50% sales penetration of CNG vehicles by 2030.