|Maruti’s new LPG WagonR|
Several major automakers, including Maruti Udyog, Tata, Ford India, and Hyundai, are expanding their line-up or introducing their first-time offerings of alternative-fueled cars in the Indian market.
Maruti Udyog, Suzuki’s Indian subsidiary, introduced India’s first LPG-powered car—the WagonR Duo—on Wednesday along with a new version of the WagonR. The new WagonR is about 10% more fuel-efficient than its predecessor, and the dual-fuel LPG version offers an operating cost about 33% less than that of the gasoline model, due to the price difference of the fuels.
The WagonR Duo uses a 1.0-liter four cylinder engine, and delivers 64hp (48 kW) of power and 84 Nm (62 lb-ft) of torque in gasoline mode, and 57.5 hp (43 kW) and 77 Nm (57 lb-ft) with LPG.
The Duo uses a toroidal LPG tank that fits into the spare-wheel well. The car has a combined gasoline-LPG range of 800 km (497 miles).
Hyundai is preparing to introduce a similar gas-powered version of Santro, according to a report in the Times of India.
Also on Wednesday, Tata Motors launched the Bharat Stage III (equivalent to Euro 3) compliant CNG versions of the Indica and the Indigo Marina. The company had first introduced a Bharat Stage II compliant CNG Indica in the National Capital Region (NCR) in 2001.
The CNG option is now available as an aftermarket conversion at the dealer level through a partnership with Shrimankar Gas Car Services, the Indian distributors for Bedini CNG kits from Italy.
The dual fuel vehicles retain their original 37-liter gasoline tank, and add a 60-liter CNG tank. The car has a driving range of 140 km (87 miles) on CNG.
Ford India announced that it will launch compressed natural gas (CNG) versions of its cars by the end of the year, with the first application being on the Ford Ikon. The Ikon, according to India’s Business Standard, is one of the poorer selling models. For the first six months of the year, ford India sold 23,758 cars of which the Fiesta represented around 20,000, or about 84%.
India has the fifth largest fleet of natural gas vehicles in the world, according to statistics from the International Association for Natural Gas Vehicles. As of March 2006, India had 248,000 CNG vehicles on the road—almost twice that of the US’s 130,000, but far behind the million-plus fleets of Argentina, Brazil and Pakistan.
(A hat-tip to John Baldwin!)