Maruti to roll CNG variants of popular cars

Most cars makers may be busy developing hybrid cars, India’s number one car maker is taking an alternative route and is planning to launch CNG as an fuel option of its popular cars.

Maruti Suzuki’s Alto, Wagon-R and SX4 models will sport a CNG engine this year as India’s largest carmaker looks at alternate fuel technology to build a more environment-friendly cars in India.

Maruti will launch new compressed natural gas (CNG)-fired versions of these vehicles that will be priced at a premium of around 15-20%. All these cars will come packed with a new technology that will be factory-fitted, unlike most other vehicles in the country at present which are retrofitted.

Maruti will use an in-house developed i-GPI (intelligent gas port injection) technology that will give the option of driving with either petrol or CNG as fuel. Maruti’s CNG kit will be the only factory-fitted computer controlled gas distribution system to be integrated into the petrol engines using injectors to fire gas directly into engine eliminating any loss of power.

Carmakers at present use venturi type CNG technology in products such as Hyundai Accent, General Motors’ Spark or Toyota’s Innova that faces around 15% loss of power when these vehicles are driven on CNG. Maruti will import the injectors from US, which will make the products dearer but still less than the hybrid cars in the country. The ex-showroom price of Toyota’s Prius in Delhi is Rs 26.5 lakh. Maruti preferred to use CNG as a fuel for i-GPI as it is cheaper than electric and other forms of hybrid engines.

Source: ET