Why Don’t Carmakers Offer CNG On Fully Loaded Variants?

Published On Nov 21, 2021 12:00 PM By Dhruv

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CNG is a great option for those looking to bring down the running cost of their vehicle but this comes at a cost

CNG or Compressed Natural Gas is one of the cleanest burning sources of fuel currently available for cars. It is also relatively cheap, so you spend a considerably less amount of money traveling a certain distance than you would if you used petrol or diesel. For example, the cost of CNG in Delhi is around Rs 52/kg, which is half of petrol and almost half of diesel. It then makes sense to maximise its use by offering the option of CNG in as many cars as possible.

However, that is not the case. There are only a total of nine cars in India that are offered with a CNG kit from the factory and they are split between two manufacturers - Maruti (six models) and Hyundai (three models). The biggest anomaly here is that both these carmakers only offer CNG kits on mid-spec variants of their cars. Why is it, then, that a fuel that is cheaper, better for the environment and can be easily offered as a factory fitment is only available on a limited number of cars and variants?

One of the reasons is the final cost of cars. On an average, CNG kits cost Rs 80,000 to Rs 90,000 over the cost of a regular petrol car. If Maruti and Hyundai were to start offering CNG kits on top-spec variants, it would result in an increase in the top-spec variants of their cars. This would be detrimental for the overall image of these brands, which are big players in the mass market segment.

Another reason that carmakers don’t offer CNG on higher variants or on more expensive cars is to maintain their premium experience. Since CNG is usually seen on public transport vehicles, it  is often seen as a poor man’s fuel in India, and buyers who want to buy petrol or diesel vehicles shy away from a particular variant if it is available with CNG as well. A good example of this is Skoda. The brand sells CNG vehicles in Europe. However, in India, Skoda is perceived as a premium brand and selling CNG-fitted vehicles would heavily dent their image.

CNG kits also take up a lot of space. The boot space in these cars is taken up by the CNG cylinder. This means that any luggage either needs to be stored inside the cabin, or you need to add a roof rack. This means that CNG cars are often limited to running inside the city, and aren’t that adept at doing highway trips. 

Lastly, there is the CNG network. By adding a CNG kit, carmakers take away boot space at the cost of lower running costs. CNG pumps are available in most major cities, but there are often long queues due to commercial vehicles and three-wheelers filling up at the same pump as private vehicles. On the highways, there aren’t that many pumps and so CNG users have to switch to petrol to undertake highway journeys, meaning they end up spending the same amount that somebody running on petrol would spend, while having less space to store their luggage.

Also Read: Top 5 Upcoming Maruti CNG Cars

Running Cost Difference Between Petrol and CNG

To give you an exact idea of the difference between the running costs, we have used the ARAI-claimed figures given by Maruti:

Price of petrol in Delhi: Rs 104.1 per litre (as on 17 November, 2021)

Price of CNG in Delhi: Rs 52.04 per kg (as on 17 November, 2021)

Here are the efficiency of the same Maruti cars on petrol and CNG: 

 

Maruti S-Presso

Maruti Ertiga

Efficiency on Petrol

21.7kmpl

19.01kmpl

Efficiency on CNG

31.2km/kg

26.08km/kg

Let’s assume we cover a distance of 100km with both cars, using both types of fuel. 

Scenario

Calculation

Running Cost of S-Presso on petrol

100/21.7 x 104.1 = Rs 479.7

Running Cost of S-Presso on CNG

100/31.2 x 52.04 = Rs 166.8

Running Cost of Ertiga on petrol

100/19.01 x 104.1 = Rs 547.6

Running Cost of Ertiga on CNG

100/26.08 c 52.04 = Rs 199.5

It’s clear from the above tables that the running cost on CNG is around one-third that of the running cost on petrol.

Why Should Carmakers Offer CNG On Higher-spec Variants?

This brings us to why carmakers should rethink their stance on CNG. There are a growing number of people who want to buy a car just to run it in the city. However, they want the latest features and these are only found on top-spec variants, especially in cars below Rs 10 lakh. Not these people would be more than happy to buy a CNG, but as carmakers refuse to offer CNG on the top-spec variant, they are either limited to buying petrol or diesel, or getting an aftermarket CNG kit.

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parag jakhariya
Nov 22, 2021 11:03:11 AM

I would request car dekho to provide feedback to car manufacturer and make customer voice heard

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    parag jakhariya
    Nov 22, 2021 11:01:03 AM

    People are ready to spend on top variant of CNG cars, we need cars auto transmission , sun roof cars in CNG variant. It hardly takes space of a bag. We need to change people perception towards CNG byeff

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      ravi purohit
      Nov 22, 2021 9:58:45 AM

      It is absolutely foolish not to offer CNG on top variants for the companies. Apart from all other excuses i think the major difference is difference in earning commission as well for petrol dealers.

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