TVS Motors dropped in an intoxicating mixture today in the form of the Apache RTR 200 Fi E100. Yes, this the company's and in fact, the country's first ethanol powered motorcycle. With the launch of the motorcycle at Rs 1.2 lakh, ex-showroom, TVS has got a first mover advantage of something that Nitin Gadkari, the union transport minister for highways has been promoting for a very long time. Gadkari has been in favour of ethanol-powered vehicles for a very long time and has been pushing both the manufacturers as well as the authorities in question to enforce it. However, this was the case of the egg and chicken conundrum. TVS though have got the chicken part of it sorted now. So what is this motorcycle capable of or where do we find ethanol and all these questions have been answered right here.
What does ethanol do and why is it being used a fuel?
Ethanol is basically a form of ethyl alcohol. The latter is the same thing found in your bar drinks. Yes, but you wont be able to open the tank and have a sip (cue: evil laughter). It is basically made from the sugarcane molasses. It is renewable and less polluting as well. The octane content is high out there however, the overall combustion is claimed to be lesser. This in turn means more of ethanol has to be used in the vehicle than conventional petrol. Speaking of which, if one uses ethanol in their conventional powered vehicle, the innards will corrode, however if the vice versa were to happen there shouldn't be a problem.
Ethanol effectively gives you a lower fuel efficiency than petrol. However, given the price which is going to be pegged at, Rs 52/litre, it is going to be a whole lot affordable than petrol. In contrast, if the prices were to increase then the effect is offset and there will barely be a difference. In this TVS Apache, one can use 80 per cent ethanol and 20 per cent regular fuel. The vehicle will run fine on 100 per cent ethanol too. However, it won't even budge if a full tank of gas is used. Moreover, at the moment, the vehicle is BS-IV compliant but the ethanol enables it to achieve BS-VI compliance with lesser modifications. Moreover, TVS claims the bike will be smoother to ride as well.
Where will I get ethanol in India?
The concept started from Brazil where TVS has a motorcycle in exactly the same format. However, with the introduction of the motorcycle here, ethanol pumps are expected to start soon. TVS has made this bike after getting approval from the government agencies. Nitin Gadkari, said that while the approval for ethanol pumps was pending from the government's side, it is likely that now it will be fast tracked. The Apache RTR 200 Fi 100E will be sold only in four states initially and these have access to sugarcane fields. As more and more ethanol pumps are set up, TVS will introduce the bikes there. If you look at it this way, currently the motorcycle cannot be run. However, if you insist, few e-commerce websites will be happy to provide you with ethanol. But, as you guessed it, it isn't feasible. TVS aims to dispatch 1,000 vehicles overall to the dealerships soon.
Ethanol production here will reduce the petrol import into the country. This will give a boost to our economy big time, says Gadkari.
What all do I get with the bike in terms of features
You get everything that you have with the regular Apache RTR 200 4V ART. This means a slipper clutch, edgy styling, all digital meters and TVS Remora tyres. There are disc brakes on both ends, however while the TVS website claims that it has dual channel ABS, company officials had pointed out that its a single channel unit. This is further amplified by the Super Moto ABS insignia near the front wheel. It is used only for vehicles in the TVS fold that use a single channel ABS. One will also get ethanol badges as well as a green on white colour scheme with the bike.
The oil-cooled engine produces 21PS and 18.1Nm. It is still mated to a 5-speed transmission. There are no claimed fuel efficiency numbers but expect it to be a tad lower than the regular petrol-fueled bike. The claimed top speed is 129kmph, the same as the fuel injected RTR200. The overall cost is Rs 10,000 more than the Race Edition Apache RTR 200.