Soon, India’s first CNG bike : The Tribune India

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Soon, India’s first CNG bike

As Bajaj Auto prepares to create ripples in the industry, its motives are two-fold: To cut the fuel and operating costs as well as offer an environment-friendly option

Soon, India’s first  CNG bike

Photo for representational purpose only. iStock file photo



Having transitioned from scooters to motorcycles and from domestic to export markets, Bajaj Auto is all set to disrupt the two-wheeler industry as it is contemplating to launch the world’s first compressed natural gas (CNG)-powered motorcycle probably in June this year. Earlier, the speculation was that the launch would take place in 2025.

The new bike is expected to cater to mileage-conscious riders. According to experts, the fuel transformation will not only offer enhanced fuel efficiency, but would also attract environmentally-conscious consumers.

According to reports, the new motorcycle will be positioned in the 100 cc-125 cc segment with low running costs and superior efficiency, compared to regular petrol commuters. With over 81 lakh motorcycles (in the 75 cc-125 cc category) already sold from April-February this fiscal year, the launch is likely to create ripples in the two-wheeler industry in the entry-level motorcycle segment.

Bajaj Auto managing director Rajiv Bajaj recently said, “It will be targeted towards the mass market and fuel efficiency conscious customers, with aggressive pricing.” The CNG motorcycle, he added, could do what Hero Honda did and that is to halve the cost of the fuel, adding that there could be a 50-65 per cent reduction in fuel and operating costs.

The motivation is two-fold. Bajaj said one is from the aspect of environment as testing results show that the use of CNG can result in carbon dioxide emissions being reduced by almost 50 per cent, that of carbon monoxide by 75 per cent and non-methane hydrocarbons by 90 per cent as compared to a motorcycle run on petrol.

In addition, it promises to do what Hero Honda did 40 years ago, which was effectively to double the mileage or halve the cost of fuel for the common man.

However, according to experts, CNG motorcycles are expected to have higher prices than traditional petrol models due to the higher cost of manufacturing. Also, it is expected that the motorcycle would support a bi-fuel system, which means it can run either on petrol or CNG, with the specialised fuel tank allowing for both petrol and CNG fuel options.

The new CNG model could be launched under a separate brand name, which also suggests that this will be the first of other models that are likely to be launched. Only one launch is expected this year as the automaker is working on the modalities and is focused on getting the basics right.

Since the Centre has expanded the CNG network across India and with 60,000 to 70,000 CNG-run three-wheelers being sold every month in the country, besides passenger cars, the CNG revolution is likely to reach new heights when Bajaj launches the country’s first CNG-powered two-wheeler.

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