Tata Tigor EV vs CNG vs Petrol: Search For The Ideal City Fuel

Published On Jul 29, 2022 By Nabeel for Tata Tigor EV

Yes, the running cost of an EV and a CNG car are lower than a petrol vehicle. But, can that justify the high purchase cost of the first two?

High automotive fuel prices are forcing buyers to look at alternative fuel options, and the two most suitable substitutes at present are CNG and electric. While it's widely known that both these options reduce running cost compared with petrol, there is also a premium you pay to buy them in the first place. 

We will find out today if the lower running cost can justify the purchase premium, and if there is a compromise one has to accept with regard to space and practicality by choosing one of these alternative fuel options. To keep this as fair as possible, we will use the Tata Tigor, the only car in the country to have run on all fuel types - petrol, diesel, CNG and electric. Today, we have the CNG and EV with us, while the diesel was axed a while ago. 

Space, Practicality and Comfort

In 2017, the Tigor was launched as a petrol and diesel sedan. The car was designed to offer optimum space, practicality and comfort with these fuel options. It was later modified to adapt to the requirements of an EV and CNG. Naturally, these come with some compromises. 

Boot Space

Let's start with CNG. The most significant compromise here is the boot space. With a 10KG CNG tank just inches behind the rear bench, there is hardly any space left for luggage. While the Tigor petrol’s 419L boot can take multiple suitcases with ease, the Tigor CNG can only fit one. As far as small CNG cars go, the boot space is still quite usable and because the spare is kept under the tank, the space left behind the tank can be easily used. 

The EV, while being much better than the CNG in terms of boot space, is still behind the petrol model. This is because the battery pack is placed under the boot which has raised the boot floor up. Also, because the spare wheel has nowhere else to go, it takes up room on the boot floor. Still, you can accommodate multiple suitcases and soft bags here. 

Practicality And Comfort

An aspect which does not get affected by different fuel types is cabin practicality. All cars continue to offer similar cubby spaces and knick-knack stowage in the cabin. 

When it comes to comfort, the story is a little different. To account for the extra (approx 100kg) weight of the CNG tank and its mounting componentry, the rear suspension in the CNG variant has been made a little stiffer. This means every time you go over a bump or a broken patch of road, you feel it more as compared to the petrol. 

The story is similar with the electric model as well. To accommodate the extra weight of the battery pack (which weighs more than the CNG tank), the suspension is stiffer. This leads to you feeling the road more, especially the bad parts. While all the three cars are comfortable and won't leave you complaining, the petrol has the best comfort, followed by the CNG and then the electric.

Drive Experience

 

Tata Tigor Petrol

Tata Tigor i-CNG

Tata Tigor EV

Motor/Engine

1.2-litre three-cylinder 

1.2-litre three-cylinder 

Electric motor

Power (PS)

86PS

73.4PS

75PS

Torque (Nm)

113Nm

95Nm

170Nm

Transmission 

5-speed manual

5-speed manual

Single-speed

Fuel Tank/Battery Capacity

35L 

10KG CNG / 35L Fuel

26kWh 

This is easily the biggest differentiator between the three. We are all familiar with ICE vehicles and how they feel to drive. The key aspect which makes a petrol or a diesel vehicle better and easier to drive than other ICE cars is the refinement of the engine, which is judged by the noise and vibrations. The electric motor in an EV has almost no noise and vibrations and this is what sets its driving experience apart. The absolute silent start-up and drive, the effortless acceleration, makes this the best driving experience of the three. Even the performance of the EV is in a different class than its conventional cousins. 

 

Tata Tigor Petrol (i-CNG)

Tata Tigor CNG

Tata Tigor EV

0-100kmph

16.50s

18.5s

13.04s

30-80kmph 3rd Gear

-

14.17s

 

20-80kmph

-

-

7.33s (Sport) / 13.74s (Drive)

Between the CNG and the petrol, it's really hard to tell the difference while driving in the city. The CNG is a potent commuter with enough power for acceleration and overtakes. While in traffic, you will not feel the need to switch to petrol. It's only on high speed overtakes on highways that you’d feel it struggling a little, and that's when switching to petrol helps. 

Queue Up!

Filling up a petrol car is simple enough. Just reach one of the millions of fuel stations available and wait in queue for about 2-3 cars. This can take about 10 minutes. For CNG, the wait gets longer. Firstly, the pumps are comparatively few and far between. This leads to more density of vehicles at outlets and secondly, filling CNG is a slightly more time consuming process. This means if you go to a filling station in a busy time, you are looking at an 8-10 vehicle queue and a wait time of about 20-30 minutes. 

With electrics, things are a bit more complicated. If you can charge the EV at home, that is the best solution. Simply plug it in after a day’s commute and leave the EV to charge fully overnight. However, if you are dependent on a public charging network, then be ready for a long wait. At busy hours, you will find about 1-2 cars in line and each will take about 45 mins to charge. Then starts your charge time which then lasts for another 40 mins - depending on the left over charge and the capacity of the charger. And, hardly any charging stations have a sophisticated waiting area, restrooms or a cafe attached. So, depending on your charging setup, EVs can be the most, or the least convenient of the three.

Purchase And Running Cost

Car

Tigor Petrol

Tigor CNG

Tigor EV

Variant

XZ Plus Dual Tone

XZ Plus Dual Tone

XZ Plus Dual Tone

Price

Rs 8.57 Lakh

Rs 9.61 Lakh

Rs 14.52 Lakh

Time for us to dive into the economics of purchasing and driving these cars. Tata Tigor petrol’s top variant in Delhi will cost you about Rs 8.6 Lakh on road. Same variant on CNG will demand a premium of a lakh. The EV, however, will ask for Rs 6 lakh more over the petrol, and about Rs 5 lakh more than the CNG. If you are buying the EV in a State where the government is offering subsidies, then the purchase cost can be lower by up to Rs 2 lakhs.

Tested Efficiency

EV

CNG

Petrol MT

City Mileage

7.39km/kWh

26.93km/kg

16.48kmpl

Highway Mileage

7.42km/kWh

34.60km/kg

17.94kmpl

The day we tested these cars, the cost of a litre of petrol was Rs 105.41, a Kg of CNG was Rs 71.61 and a unit of electric charge from a 50kW charger was Rs 18.94. Based on this, a full tank for petrol would cost Rs 3600 and offer a range of 570km. A full tank of CNG cost Rs 650 and offers a range of 250km and a full charge of EV costs Rs 500 rupee and offers a range of 192km.

 

EV

CNG

Petrol MT

Per Km Cost City

Rs 2.56 / km

Rs 2.65 / km

Rs 6.39 / km

Per Km Cost Highway

Rs 2.55 / km

Rs 2.26 / km

Rs 5.87 / km

Based on these tested figures, the running cost of the CNG and EV is almost the same and about half of that of petrol. If you charge the EV at home, the running cost can come down to Rs 1 per kilometre and this figure can go even lower if you are using solar panels at your place. But because home charging rates can be different for everyone, we will stick to the commercial charger rates in this article to keep things simple. 

Cost Recovery

Purchase Cost Recovery

Petrol To CNG

In km

In Years (50km/day)

City

26,326km

1.44 years

Highway

27,274km

1.49 years

Assuming your daily runs to be 50km, it will take you 26,326km or 1.44 years to recover the premium you paid for the CNG variant. This sounds reasonable because from then on, you are saving at least Rs 3 per kilometre. 

Petrol to EV

   

City

1,39,899km

7.66 years

To recover the Rs 6 lakh additional purchase cost of the EV, you will have to drive it for 1,39,899km in the city, which can take upto 7.66 years. To give you an estimate, even if you are charging at home, it will take you 1,00,717km and 5.51 years to recover the cost. From a purely economic point of view, this won't save you money. 

And The Most Practical Propellant Is?

Each of the three fuel options comes with its set of advantages and disadvantages. Petrol remains the option which asks for the least compromise in terms of driveability and practicality. However, with the ever-rising fuel prices, the running cost is simply getting too hot to handle for many. 

Hence, if you are looking for a daily driver which is not only easy on the wallet to run, but also purchase, then CNG is clearly the best option for you. It offers you half the running cost of petrol and you won’t feel like a compromise, especially in the city. However, there is little compromise in comfort and a major one in the form of limited boot space. 

If you want to save money, then buying the electric won’t be logical for you. Does buying the EV make sense at all then? Absolutely yes! It offers you the best driving experience and performance with almost little to no compromise on practicality. And this experience somewhat justifies the price premium. If you can swallow the high purchase cost and have a home charger, then it is the EV which will offer the most premium experience.

Tata Tigor EV

Variants*Ex-Showroom Price New Delhi
XE (Electric)Rs.12.49 Lakh*
XM (Electric)Rs.12.99 Lakh*
XZ Plus (Electric)Rs.13.49 Lakh*
XZ Plus Dual Tone (Electric)Rs.13.64 Lakh*

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