Maruti’s Flex-fuel Engine Under Development
The carmaker has already stated that all of its models will be E20 (20 per cent ethanol in petrol) compliant by April 2023
It was in April 2022 when Maruti announced that its lineup of automobiles will be E20-compliant (a mix of 20 per cent ethanol and 80 per cent petrol) by April 2023. Now, to achieve this, the carmaker is developing its own flex-fuel engine which will also be able to run on E85 (85 percent ethanol).
As globally available engines that can operate on E85 are still BS4-compliant, India could be the first market to get them in a BS6 guise.
Maruti’s Take On Alternative Fuel Options
Following petrol and CNG, the flex-fuel option will be the third fuel choice for Maruti cars. The carmaker is also said to be exploring the possibility of introducing models that can run on bio-CNG (a renewable fuel obtained by purifying biogas).
Flex-fuel Option And Its Requirements
Flex-fuels are a blend of petrol and ethanol (or methanol) and will be considerably cheaper than petrol. Ethanol, commonly known as biofuel, is a pure form of alcohol made from sugarcane, among other things. A flex-fuel engine can basically run on either standalone or blended fuel.
For now, petrol sold in India is already offered with a 10-15 per cent blend of ethanol in some cities. To achieve a 20-25 per cent blend, carmakers will need to retune their petrol engines, use compliant engine materials and make certain modifications involving components, to the compression ratio and also to the fuel pump.
Also Read: Facelifted Swift Joins Maruti’s CNG Lineup
Government’s Plans And Expected Price Hikes For Such Cars
The Indian government plans to make all cars E20-blend compatible by 2025 and is also working towards lowering taxes on blended fuel.
While the implementation of the flex-fuel option is expected to result in the increase in prices of cars (in the Rs 15,000 to Rs 20,000 ballpark), the reduced dependence on imported crude oil will surely lead to more economic advantages. Since ethanol is a by-product of molasses from sugar production, it is easy to be produced domestically.
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