Using CNG-fuelled two wheelers to curb air pollution in Indian cities
For a nation stricken with air pollution, where millions of commuters prefer two wheelers, a sustainable and eco-friendly alternative to fossil fuels is the need of the hour. As per the International Organisation of Motor Vehicle Manufacturers (OICA) 2015 Statistics, the domestic motor vehicle sales in India between April 2015 and March 2016 was approximately 20.47 million units of which two wheelers were 16.5 million, constituting 80% of the total sales.
Another study by the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) reveals that two wheelers account for 31% of vehicular pollution whereas four wheelers constitute 20%.
Considering the number of two wheelers on Indian roads, the total pollution caused by them is approximately 50% more than four wheelers. The search for alternate fuels for two wheelers is on a rise and Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) seems to be the road ahead.
CNG Fuelled Vehicles and their Positive Impact
A Natural Gas Vehicle (NGV) or a CNG fuelled vehicle is a vehicle that uses CNG as a cleaner alternative to fossil fuels. CNG offers several benefits over fossil fuels, such as:
- Engine parts corrode gradually with CNG than with fossil fuels
- Offers high mileage
- Almost 30% less emissions
- Cleaner emissions with an extremely low carbon content
The operational cost of CNG fuelled vehicle is 60% less than petrol and 28% less than diesel vehicles. Interestingly, replacing a diesel bus with a CNG bus is equivalent to taking 21 cars off the road. With deteriorating air quality in Indian metros, CNG fuelled vehicles are paving the way towards cleaner and reduced emissions.
After its emergence as the world’s worst city in terms of air quality in 2014, strict measures have been adopted to improve the air quality in Delhi. Initially the odd-even formula for vehicles and now the adoption of CNG fuelled two wheelers, the national capital is committed to shed off the worst air quality tag.
The central government along with Indraprastha Gas Limited (IGL), a joint venture of Gas Authority of India Limited (GAIL), has started a pilot program named “Hawa Badlo”. The program aims at curbing air pollution arising from two wheelers and uplifting the natural gas consumption of the nation from 7% to the world average of 24%.
Under this program, two wheelers like Honda Activa will be fitted with CNG fuel tanks and a feasibility study will be done on their emissions and cost effectiveness. The program involves a feasibility study of 50 CNG fitted vehicles with the first batch of 10 vehicles signed off on 23 June. Once the results are positive the project will be expanded further.
CNG-Fuelled Two Wheeler Feasibility and the Road Ahead
The government of India has launched 10 Honda Activa CNG scooters along with a two wheeler CNG kit approved by Automotive Research Association of India (ARAI) in Delhi. The Activa is launched at ₹ 65,000 and offers a mileage of 120 km/litre with a running cost of 60-65 paise/km, which is half of petrol.
Although, the two wheelers are not yet launched for the general public but their promising mileage and cost effectiveness accompanied by low and clean emissions will make them a daily sight very soon. Once they hit the road, don’t forget to get your CNG fuelled two wheeler insured.