We won’t need petrol cars when flex engines come: Nitin Gadkari – BusinessLine

Union Minister Nitin Gadkari is hoping to replace petrol with ethanol in the next two to three years after winning assurances from some of India’s leading automobile manufacturers who have promised to introduce models that will be powered by ethanol.

Gadkari, who is the minister for Road Transport and Highways, said at a recent event in Mumbai that Bajaj Auto, TVS Motor Company, Toyota, Maruti Suzuki and Hyundai are ready to accommodate automobile production that can be majorly powered by ethanol.


“We have opened three ethanol pumps in Pune. The ethanol powered autorickshaw of Bajaj Auto is ready. We are bringing out an advisory on flex engines which allows the vehicle to run on 100 per cent petrol or 100 per cent ethanol. Bajaj and TVS (Motor Company) have already made two-wheelers using this technology. Toyota, Maruti Suzuki and Hyundai have assured us that they are ready to bring flex engine vehicles,” Gadkari said at the conference on Investment Opportunities – Highway, Transport and Logistics.

Also read: ‘Ethanol blending programme will cut down surplus sugar stock substantially’

Chennai-based TVS Motor Company was the first company to launch a bike that is 100 per cent powered by ethanol. It had launched the Apache motorcycle with an ethanol powered engine in 2019. Other automakers including Maruti Suzuki and Tata Motors have talked about their readiness in making room for high blending of ethanol in petrol.

“Government promotes 350 ethanol-making factories made from rice. We have sugarcane factories that produce ethanol. I can assure you that we will not need petrol cars once flex engines come to the market. I believe that in the next 2-3 years, petrol vehicles will get converted to ethanol,” Gadkari added.

Ethanol content

In March this year, the Road Transport Ministry notified the increase in the ethanol content in fuel to 20 per cent (E20). The government has targeted 2025-26 for achieving E20. The current average nationwide content of ethanol in petrol is around 6 per cent though it was made mandatory to have 10 per cent (E10) blending back in 2008. All cars made after 2008 are E10 compatible.

Last week, the government reduced the GST rate on ethanol meant for blending to 5 per cent from 18 per cent. Before the reduction in GST rate, the price of ethanol stood at around ₹63 per litre. Besides the lower price ethanol emits 19-48 per cent less greenhouse gas emission compared with petrol.

Brazil is the second-largest producer of ethanol in the world and its government has allowed ethanol blending of up to 25 per cent (E25). The US is the largest producer of ethanol and its government has allowed blending to the E10 level.

Carmakers in Brazil have even developed flex engines that can run on E25 (25 per cent ethanol and 75 per cent gasoline) or Hydrous ethanol (E100) making the South American country one of the single-biggest consumers of ethanol used in powering automobiles.


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