Flex-fuel which has been gaining steam as a topic off late is now in the news again. The Minister for Road Transport and Highway at a meeting today said that the government is looking to ask manufacturers to start making flex engines. A flex-fuel vehicle means one that can run entirely on ethanol or a blend of petrol/ethanol. The latter has a lower calorie value and hence a higher quantity needs to be burned to be able to achieve optimum combustion. At present, the ethanol fuel is pegged at Rs 62-63 per litre, far lower than the Rs 104/litre for petrol now. Moreover, Gadkari urged that our country has a surplus of rice, and wheat. While earlier the ethanol was generated from sugarcane juice, it can also be extracted now from rice, corn and food grains. He also said that other countries of the world like Brazil, the US and Canada have flex engines that are powered by farm produce and exhorted automakers like BMW, Mercedes and Toyota to develop vehicles running on the alternative fuel.
TVS is one motorcycle maker that has developed an ethanol-run motorcycle. The TVS Apache RTR200 E100 Fi model was shown in 2019 but was never available in showrooms. Gadkari said that a switch to locally-produced ethanol will be helpful for a country like India which relies majorly on crude oil imports for powering the transport sector. Gadkari is of the opinion that ethanol will also be less polluting and cost-saving. The government, Gadkari said, is coming up with a new ethanol scheme in the next three months. 100 per cent ethanol pumps are opening up and in fact two of them have been opened in Pune.
Are you ready to buy a flex-fuel vehicle in India? BS6 cars, bikes that are currently present in India, it is being said, are compatible with ethanol-mixed petrol. Currently, the ratio is only 20 per cent ethanol mixed with petrol but it is set to increase exponentially. By doing so, we may be able to reduce our oil imports significantly. This in turn will save the exchequer some money.
With inputs from PTI