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Everything You Should Know About a CNG Kit—Prices, Advantages, and Uses

Get the lowdown on CNG kits! Learn about prices, benefits, and usage, including cost savings and improved fuel efficiency. Find the right kit for you!

  • 01 Feb 2023
  • min read
  • 1659 views

Fuel costs are soaring high. To add to the woes of spending on fuel, the burning of fossil fuels is among the leading causes of environmental damage. The carbon emissions from the combustion of fuels such as petrol and diesel are very high. Amidst all this, Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) has surfaced as one of the best alternatives to traditional fuels. Low budget, lower maintenance costs, and significantly reduced carbon emission are some of the key reasons for the growing popularity of vehicles fitted with CNG kits.

Today, CNG kit-fitted vehicles are becoming increasingly common. When buying a new vehicle, you may choose one with a pre-fitted CNG kit. But, what if you already own a traditional vehicle that utilises an internal combustion engine (ICE)? Would you have to wait until you decide to change your car or two-wheeler to switch to a CNG vehicle?

The answer is, no. You can easily install a CNG kit in a petrol or diesel-run vehicle. Read on to know how to convert a petrol car to a CNG car.

What is a CNG kit?

As mentioned above, you can either buy a CNG car or two-wheeler or install a CNG kit in your existing petrol or diesel-run vehicle. A CNG kit turns your internal combustion engine-fitted vehicle into a CNG-compatible vehicle.

A CNG kit comprises a refill valve, pressure gauge, and an Electric Control Unit, along with some other fittings such as hoses, clamps, high-pressure tubes etc. However, before you schedule the CNG fitting of your combustion engine vehicle, you must check if your car or bike is compatible with the CNG fitting or not.

If your vehicle is compatible with the fittings, then you may proceed with the CNG kit installation process. However, remember to get approval from your RTO for the conversion of a petrol or diesel-based car or scooter into a CNG-run one.

What is the use of a CNG kit?

Now that you know what a CNG kit is and what it does, let us look at the uses of various components of the kit.

  • CNG fittings come with a fuel switch for the driver to switch from petrol or diesel mode to CNG mode as and when needed.
  • The CNG kit has a CNG cylinder, which is called the fuel tank. This is where the compressed natural gas is stored. Usually, this cylinder is installed at the back of the vehicle.
  • The high-pressure compressed gas is released from the fuel tank through the extensive set-up of fuel lines or channels.
  • There is a regulator to manage the pressure. It functions in sync with the engine fuel injection system.
  • Once the pressure is regulated, the CNG passes to the combustion or manifold chamber. Here, CNG comes into contact with air.
  • A spark plug ignites the CNG as soon as it mixes with air, and the engine starts.

Is a CNG kit compatible with your vehicle?

Given its growing popularity, more and more people are seeking to understand how to convert petrol cars to CNG cars. However, not all vehicles can be fitted with a CNG kit. For example:

  • Older vehicles are not suitable for such technological customisations
  • CNG is not the right fit for bikes with mid to high CC. Such bikes need higher acceleration power. However, most scooters are compatible with CNG.

The best and the most authentic way to know if your petrol or diesel car can be converted to a CNG-run vehicle or not is to contact or visit the nearest Regional Transport Office (RTO). RTOs have an exhaustive list of cars that are suitable for CNG fitting.

If your car’s make and model are listed among the RTO’s CNG-compatible prescribed list of cars, then you may proceed with the CNG kit installation. Note, the list of cars varies from place to place. Therefore, check the list outlined by the RTO of your area only.

Also read:

How to choose a CNG kit for your car?

When choosing a CNG kit, the most common dilemma is—should you go for a CNG kit given by the car’s dealer or you should get one from the market. The answer to this question depends on three things:

  • Type and brand of your car
  • Type and brand of the CNG kit you choose
  • Whether your car is compatible with the chosen CNG kit

There are primarily two types of CNG kits:

• Venturi CNG Kit:

  • This is highly preferred because of its affordability, easy installation process, and wide suitability. Whether the car is fuel-injected or drives on a carburettor, the Venturi CNG kit is compatible with any type of automobile. It comes with another added advantage—the kit can be installed even without an Electric Control Unit (ECU).

The major disadvantage of this kit is it needs frequent cleaning by professionals.  This adds to maintenance costs. Though the kit is affordable, it is high maintenance.

• Sequential CNG kit:

  • Despite being costlier than the Venturi CNG kit, the Sequential CNG kit is more popular among automobile experts. The kit comes with a separate Electric Control Unit (ECU) to regulate the flow of the compressed gas to the engine. This increases the kit’s efficiency compared to the Venturi kit. The balanced and adaptable flow of CNG improves performance by offering better mileage.

 

However, apart from its high cost, it has another major drawback. This kit is suitable only for fuel-injected vehicles. Also, it is difficult to install.

 

While these are options, choose a type that is compatible with your vehicle and is within your budget. Also, if you are not aware of the installation process or do not have easy access to a CNG fitting service provider, then choose a CNG kit that is easy to install.

If your vehicle is compatible with a CNG kit, then seek permission from the government authorities for the installation of the kit. You will need the Fuel Change Registration Certificate to install a CNG kit in your vehicle.

Other factors to keep in mind when choosing the CNG kit for your vehicle include:

  • Go for a brand with a good market reputation
  • Check the reviews on after-sales services
  • Choose a good credible fitment centre
  • Thoroughly check the warranty coverage

Do the paperwork online

How much does a CNG kit cost?

The cost of a CNG kit essentially depends on its type and brand. However, given below is some general information about CNG kit price to provide you with a fair idea about the same.

  • The company-fitted CNG kit price ranges between Rs 60,000 and Rs 70,000.
  • A sequential CNG kit, if bought from an independent seller, will cost between Rs 40,000 and Rs 50,000.
  • If you install an aftermarket CNG kit, you will not get the benefit of company-provided warranty coverage. Company-fitted kits come with the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) warranty, making them slightly more expensive than independent brand CNG kits.
  • An open-loop CNG kit costs between Rs 15,000 and Rs 20,000. Note, this CNG kit price is inclusive of the installation charges.
  • The cost of a closed-loop CNG kit ranges between Rs 22,000 and Rs 25,000.
  • Apart from the CNG kit price, there are additional expenses for registration and maintenance.

Advantages of a CNG kit

Some of the major advantages of CNG kits are:

  • Cost-effective in the long run: Given the ever-increasing prices of petrol and diesel, switching to a CNG-run vehicle can help you save a lot of your fuel money. Estimates show if a vehicle is used frequently, then the cost of CNG kit installation can be recovered within two years of use.
  • Low running expenses: If a comparative analysis is done, it is evident that CNG-run vehicles have extremely high fuel efficiency. Diesel vehicle costs almost an additional Rs 2 lakh over their petrol counterparts. The CNG model costs an additional Rs 90,000 over the petrol model. Since CNG is much cheaper than petrol and diesel, the running expense of CNG cars is much lower.
  • Environment friendly: Compared to petrol and diesel, compressed natural gas is much cleaner and safer. So, installing a CNG kit reduces carbon emissions and thus, contributes to checking environmental degradation. Furthermore, CNG has a high auto-ignition temperature which reduces the chances of catching fire, thereby making it a safer option than other combustion fuels.
  • No fuel adulteration: Many fuel sellers adulterate petrol and diesel with substances such as kerosene, naphtha, and pentane. These degraded adultered fuels not only damage the vehicle but also their burning causes major carbon emissions. It is almost impossible to adulterate CNG. Hence, CNG kit-fitted vehicles are a better choice than petrol or diesel-run ones.

Disadvantages of a CNG kit

There are several advantages of CNG kit-fitted vehicles. However, still, some aspects require major improvements. These are:

  • High maintenance cost: While you can find affordable CNG kits, they need frequent maintenance, which adds up to becoming a high bill.
  • Complicated installation: The CNG kit installation is a complicated process demanding expert help.
  • Low infrastructural access: Many fuel stations do not have CNG pumps. You don’t have to worry about the availability of petrol or diesel at these stations. Also, you can find these fuel stations in almost every corner of your city. But, CNG refuelling stations are scanty.

FAQs

How does installing a CNG kit affect my insurance premium?

The premium of your car insurance depends on multiple factors such as the make and model of the car, engine capacity, fuel type etc. While the exact change in premium will vary from insurer to insurer, expect a rise in premium amount by 10% if you shift to CNG.

What are some CNG kit brands available in the market?

Some of the prominent CNG kit brands available in the market are Unitax, Tartarini, BRC, Zavoli, Bugatti, Lendi-Renzo, Tomasetto, Lovato-Autogas, Bedni, Longas etc.

How much time will it take to fill gas in a vehicle with a CNG kit?

A three or four-wheeler vehicle with a CNG kit will need around 2 to 3 minutes, whereas a heavy vehicle such as a bus with a capacity of 50 kilograms will need 10 to 15 minutes to fill completely.

Is using CNG in a car safer than petrol or diesel?

Using a CNG kit-fitted car is safer than using a petrol or diesel car. This is because the auto-ignition temperature of CNG is high. This reduces the chances of the vehicle catching fire. This also makes the CNG refuel stations safer than their diesel/petrol counterparts.

Why is it advised not to sit in the car while filling CNG?

CNG is a volatile gas. Inhaling CNG can cause nausea and vomiting. Also, there is always a risk of ignition of the vehicle while filling CNG. If there is a leak or a crack, the volatile gas mixing with air at high pressure can heat up and cause a fire.

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