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In six months, India may have flex-fuel cars

By Himanshu Walia | Published: 29 Dec' 21 | Updated: 13 Jan' 22

In six months, India may have flex-fuel cars

  • Car manufacturers have been granted six months to introduce flex-fuel Car engines
  • It will be a difficult task for automobile manufacturers to achieve the deadline
  • Currently, E10 petrol is available throughout 80 percent of the country


Nitin Gadkari, the Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways, has long supported the use of flex-fuel to power vehicles offered in India. 


At a recent industry event, the transport minister announced that he has issued a recommendation to all automobile manufacturers urging them to incorporate flex-fuel engines into their vehicles.

Advisory issued to include flex-fuel engines

In September, the government expressed interest in issuing an order for the introduction of flex-fuel engines in India over the next six months, according to a government official. 


Now, Gadkari has stated that he recently signed a file on flex-fuel car engines, which advises automakers to produce engines that can run on either 100 percent ethanol or 100 percent petrol, depending on the use.


The auto industry has been given a six-month window in which to implement this technology.

What are flex-fuel engines, and how do they work?

It is possible to run an internal combustion engine on more than one type of fuel and also on a mixture of fuels, which is known as a "flex-fuel engine." 


With the use of modifications such as a fuel composition sensor and appropriately programmed ECUs, the engine is capable of automatically adapting for any ratio of fuel and ethanol. 


Flex-fuel engines, which are able to operate on either 100% Petrol or 100% ethanol, are already present in nations such as Brazil, the United States, or Canada.

Flex-fuel vehicles have a lot of potential in India

Despite the fact that the government has issued a statement, there is no certainty that automakers will be able to comply with the deadline. 


It has already been revealed that Maruti Suzuki is looking to produce flex-fuel cars for the Indian market, although the business has not given a specific timeframe by which this could be accomplished at this moment. 


"We have just begun examining this," Kenichi Ayukawa, managing director and CEO of Maruti Suzuki India Ltd., previously stated. "It will take time."


To be sure, it's important to note that India's own two-wheeler maker TVS already has a motorcycle in its lineup that's powered by a flex-fuel engine, something that Gadkari himself noted during the event. 


TVS had introduced a variant of the Apache RTR 200 that was fueled entirely by ethanol back in January 2021.

In India, there is an abundance of ethanol-based fuel

The administration said earlier this year that it will push the deadline for the introduction of E20 fuel until 2023. E20 is essentially petrol that has been combined with 20% ethanol. 


As a point of reference, E10 fuel is currently available in 80 percent of the country, with nationwide availability predicted by next year. The ultimate goal is to have 100 percent pure ethanol (E100), as well as flex-fuel Cars that can operate on it.


However, establishing a supply system capable of transitioning all petrol vehicles to flex technology will be a difficult task. 


Also important is the fact that testing, calibrating, and homologating vehicles for road use will prove to be a monumental undertaking for manufacturers, who are already struggling to keep up with forthcoming emission rules.