Union Minister of Road Transport and Highways, Nitin Gadkari, has for long been advocating the use of flex-fuel to power cars and motorcycles sold in India.
- Recently, at an industry event, the transport minister revealed that he has issued an advisory to all carmakers to introduce flex-fuel engines in their vehicles.
As per the advisory issued by the government:
- Carmakers are given six months to introduce flex-fuel engines.
- Manufacturers have to produce the Flex Fuel Strong Hybrid vehicles and both types of vehicles must comply with the BS-6 emission norms.
What are flexible fuel vehicles (FFVs)?
An FFV is a modified version of vehicles that could run both on gasoline and doped petrol with different levels of ethanol blends.
- It will allow vehicles to use all the blends and also run-on unblended fuel.
- FFVs have compatible engines to run on more than 84 per cent ethanol-blended petrol.
- Reducing the use of polluting fossil fuels and cutting down harmful emissions.
- Alternative fuel ethanol is Rs 60-62 per litre very much less than Rs 100 per litre of Petrol.
- It will allow vehicles to use different blends of ethanol mixed petrol available in different parts of the country.
- These vehicles are a logical extension of the Ethanol Blended Petrol (EBP) programme launched by the Union Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas in January 2003.
- Since India has surplus production of corn, sugar and wheat, the mandatory blending of ethanol programme will help farmers in realising higher incomes.
- For the overall Indian economy, higher usage of ethanol as an automobile fuel will help save import costs.
- The cost of ownership and running cost are going to be very high compared with 100 per cent petrol vehicles.
- Running cost (due to lower fuel efficiency) will be higher by more than 30 per cent when run with 100 per cent ethanol (E100).
- Flex Fuel Engines cost more as ethanol has very different chemical properties than petrol.
- Ethanol also acts as a solvent and could wipe out the protective oil film inside the engine thereby could cause wear and tear.