A recent survey found that 42 percent of Indians are interested in buying an alternative fuel car. In other words, those consumers who are aware of the environment have turned away from petrol-diesel vehicles. Alternative fuel vehicles include the most popular electric and CNG-powered vehicles. Seeing the rising demand in the market, one by one many companies are bringing their own CNG models of fuel oil-powered vehicles to the market. This time around, Ashok Leyland, a domestic commercial vehicle manufacturer, introduced a number of trucks transporting natural gas or CNG-powered products. Named E-Comet Star ICV CNG. But the company introduced the natural gas-powered bus almost two decades ago. Those buses are still running in the existing Tabiat under the Delhi Transport Corporation.
The CNG trucks come with the option of carrying two types of weight – 16.1 tons and 14.25 tons. There are three types of CNG cylinders to choose from – 360/480/560 liters. Sanjeev Kumar, head of Ashok Leyland (MHCV), said that if the CNG tank of the truck was full, it would cover 600 km. “As the demand for eco-friendly vehicles grows, so do the needs of consumers,” he said.
According to the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM), the proportion of CNG-powered lorries in trucks in the country is only 10%. The remaining 90% is diesel-powered. Most of the natural gas-powered lorries are owned by VECV (VE Commercial Vehicles Limited) and Tata Motors. However, Sanjeev Kumar has hinted that Ashok Leyland will soon bring more such fuel vehicles. “We will launch 11-ton CNG trucks by May 2022,” he said.
Incidentally, according to auto analyst firm FE, there are two main reasons behind the rise in CNG prices over the last few years – first, the price of scorched diesel. Second, increase the number of CNG pumps in the country. There are currently 3,100 CNG outlets in 250 cities across India. The number was 2,207 at the beginning of the 2020-21 financial year. Sanjeev Kumar, an official of the company, also mentioned another reason for the increase in demand for alternative fuel vehicles is that the maintenance cost of CNG-powered trucks is comparatively less than that of diesel-powered trucks.