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Skoda-VW Begin Testing CNG Engines In India

Published On Oct 30, 2020 10:54 AM By Dhruv for Skoda Rapid

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The VW Group plans to introduce turbo-CNG engines in India, and already sells them in European markets

  • Rapid has been seen filling up on CNG, signaling that the VW Group have begun testing their TGI engines in India.

  • Their 1.0-litre and 1.5-litre turbo-petrol engines can also run on CNG in Europe.

  • They make 90PS/130PS, respectively. Around 20PS less than petrol powered TSI counterparts 

  • These new engines will power their mass market cars like the Volkswagen Polo and Skoda Rapid.

  • The CNG engines are expected to be an option with Skoda’s upcoming compact SUV which will rival the Creta.

  • VW Group hasn’t set a timeline for the launch of their CNG cars in India.

The image of a Skoda Rapid bearing a red number and plate pictured filling up on CNG recently became quite popular. A twitter user even tagged Zac Hollis, asking him when it would be launched, to which the Director of Skoda Auto India replied, and I quote, “It’s a project but as yet there is no final sign off.”

The VW Group has been toying with the idea of CNG vehicles for India, and that’s nothing new. They had hinted of it even before their new India 2.0 business plan lineup was revealed ahead of the 2020 Auto Expo. The 1.0-litre and 1.5-litre  turbo-petrol engines used in the Rapid and Karoq, respectively, can both be had with a CNG option straight from the factory in some international markets and it's called their TGI line of engines.

The 1.0-litre TGI engine in the Euro-spec Volkswagen Polo makes a maximum of 90PS and 160Nm of torque. That’s not far off from what the petrol powered TSI version of that engine makes (110PS/175Nm) in the Polo and Rapid sold in India. The bigger 1.5-litre TGI engine in the Volkswagen Golf sold in Europe makes 130PS, 20PS shy of what the same engine makes in the Skoda Karoq sold in India.

This means that the carmaker already has the technology and it’s only a matter of bringing it to India. The Polo CNG sold in Europe has a WLTP certified range of 368km due to its 13.8kg tank while the Golf on the other hand can go further, earning itself a 422 km WLTP range from its 17.3kg tank.

Now it is just a matter of adapting this technology to Indian conditions. And that is what the Skoda Rapid in the image is possibly doing. Zac Hollis has himself confirmed that they are looking at it but there is no fixed end date.

But, while they have the technology and it offers decent enough performance, Skoda and Volkwagen are both wary of the ‘poor-man’s-fuel’ tag that exists around CNG in India. It wouldn’t really suit their image of offering sporty and premium cars in India.

The bottom line is this, CNG-powered Skoda and Volkswagen vehicles will be sold in the future, but as they have just begun testing in India, it won’t happen any time in the recent future.

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