Bajaj is preparing to launch the first CNG motorcycle

 

CNG powered vehicles offer lower costs and better efficiency compared to their gasoline powered counterparts.

Bajaj Headquarters in India

Ever-tightening emissions restrictions are forcing automakers to explore all kinds of alternative power options. Indeed, electric power is rapidly becoming a ubiquitous alternative to internal combustion. But within the scope of ICE, there are quite a few innovations.

A good example of this comes in the form of CNG, or compressed natural gas. This is something that Indian motorcycle manufacturer Bajaj is eyeing, with CEO Rajiv Bajaj announcing the accelerated development of the company’s new CNG platform.

So how does a CNG vehicle work? Well, the basic idea is that natural gas, consisting mainly of methane, is compressed and stored in a tank. As you move, gas is forced into the engine, where it mixes with air. This mixture of air and gas is then ignited just like a regular gasoline-powered ICE.

 

A notable advantage here is that CNG is seen as a cleaner option than gasoline, as it emits fewer pollutants. Rajiv Bajaj explains that when it comes to tailpipe emissions, Co2 is reduced by about 50 percent, while carbon monoxide is reduced by about 75 percent. Additionally, non-methane hydrocarbons are said to be reduced by about 90 percent. So while CNG is by no means a zero-emission option, it certainly stands out as a life-extender for the good old internal combustion engine.

Bajaj is already producing CNG powered rickshaws for commercial use

More than just emissions reduction, India’s economy is driven by efficiency. This means reducing costs as far as possible, and Bajaj’s CNG bike is expected to provide users with double the mileage (effectively halving the cost) with each tank of gas – something that will definitely be within the budget. But will please most passengers.

When it comes to the specific timeline of Bajaj’s first CNG bike, we won’t have to wait that long as it is assured that it will be ready for launch within the first half of 2024. This is quite a bold statement, as the company’s initial plans focused on a launch in 2025.

Initiatives exploring the use of alternative fuels are always a good thing. Certainly, electrification has proven to be a reliable, long-term solution. But it’s always good to have lots of options.

And while CNG is not exactly a zero-emission option, it could lay the foundation for more advanced research with the use of other alternative fuels such as hydrogen and other e-fuels.

 

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