Maruti Suzuki Alto, WagonR, SX4 to get factory-fitted CNG kits
Maruti Suzuki, the largest car manufacturer in India, has announced plans to launch CNG versions of its popular cars Alto, new WagonR and SX4. Ritz and Zen Estilo might also get CNG kits soon. Related: All-new Suzuki WagonR road test
Maruti Suzuki hopes that the new CNG models of its small cars will help it gain more of the small car market share in India.
The CNG models of Alto, WagonR and SX4 are likely to be priced some 15-20 more than the petrol variants. The CNG kits which would employ the latest tech would come factory fitted.
IV Rao, Managing Executive Officer, Maruti Suzuki said that the CNG will blend the benefits of gasoline engine power at CNG fuel prices.
Technically speaking, Maruti Suzuki would be using an in house developed i-GPI (intelligent gas port injection) technology which would give the driver the option of driving either on Petrol or on CNG at any given time. Maruti says the CNG kits would be factory-fitted and would run on a computer controlled gas distribution system fitted into the petrol engines using injectors to fire gas directly into engine which would ensure that there isn’t any power loss.
Traditional CNG kits that are used commonly use a venture type CNG technology which cut engine power up to 15 per cent when in CNG mode. But this will not happen with the CNG kits in the Maruti cars. Maruti will import its the injectors from US – hence the rise in the overall price of the CNG models. And of course, offering CNG variants is the quickest way to go green – unlike electric or hybrid models which would mean high expense and higher risks.
As we said, the Suzuki Alto, WagonR and SX4 will get CNG engine variants in 2010 itself. Maruti Ritz and the Estilo could also be lined up for getting a CNG variant after the initial models get it.
There are several cars available in the Indian market with CNG option already. There is the Hyundai Accent CNG, and then the Toyota Innova CNG MPV. Hindustan Motors has been selling the Ambassador CNG models for a long time, along with the CNG Mitsubishi Lancers.
General Motors recently launched its Chevrolet Aveo CNG. Many car owners get CNG or LPG kits fitted as a aftermarket fitment which at times can cause problem to the engine and can sometimes be even dangerous if not fitted properly or if a sub-standard kit is used, with more auto companies looking at the CNG options on their models we can look forward to safer and more environment friendly cars in the coming years.