To promote the adoption of flex-fueled vehicles in the country, the Union minister of Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari has been hard at work in recent months. And to extend their support in this great initiative, the country’s largest automaker Maruti Suzuki India Limited (MSIL) has now introduced their first ever flex-fuel vehicle. The company recently showcased a prototype of a WagonR powered by flex-fuel technology at an event in New Delhi on ethanol adoption and flex-fuel vehicles in India. The MoRTH Minister unveiled the vehicle in the presence of Hisashi Takeuchi, Managing Director & CEO, Maruti Suzuki India Limited.
Maruti Suzuki showcased a WagonR demonstrator which can run on a blend of ethanol and petrol. The vehicle according to the company has been developed to run on any ethanol-petrol mixture between 20% (E20) and 85% (E85) of petrol. The particular car at the event was powered by a 15% petrol and 85% ethanol blend. According to Indo-Japnese automaker, the model has been designed and developed by Maruti Suzuki in India, although they did receive some support from the Japanese corporation as well.
The company has made a ton of changes under the bonnet of this WagonR in order to debut the flex-fuel technology in the first-ever mass-segment flex-fuel vehicle. The flex-fuel Wagon R is overhauled, according to Maruti Suzuki, with ethanol sensors to gauge its percentage and a heated fuel rail for cold start assistance. The car also receives an improved engine management system, a stronger fuel pump, stronger injectors, and other mechanical parts for a longer-lasting engine. The powertrain in question also conforms with the impending, stricter BS6 Phase-II pollution requirements.
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Speaking on the development of the all-new Flex-fuel WagonR, Hisashi Takeuchi, Managing Director & CEO, Maruti Suzuki India Limited, said,
Maruti Suzuki has consistently aligned itself to the national objectives of reducing the country’s oil import burden and improving the environment. Designed and developed locally in India with support from SMC, Japan, the Wagon R Flex Fuel prototype vehicle emboldens Government of India’s ‘Make in India’ efforts. Notably, our research shows that an ethanol fuel based Wagon R Flex Fuel prototype vehicle operating on E85 fuel will help reduce tailpipe GHG emissions by 79% in comparison to a conventional gasoline Wagon R model while ensuring the same power performance. Its benefits have also been outlined in Niti Aayog’s ‘Roadmap for Ethanol Blending in India 2020-25’ which elaborates on the plan for production and utilization of ethanol for automotive applications. Further, India is the largest producer & consumer of sugar and its second-largest exporter in the world. Ethanol made from processing crop waste is ideal for an agrarian economy. This also gives an impetus to the ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ initiative.
It should be mentioned that Maruti Suzuki is not the first car manufacturer in the country to display a flex-fuel car. In October of this year, Toyota Kirloskar Motor debuted a Flexi-Fuel Strong Hybrid Electric Vehicle Technology pilot project in Delhi. The Indo-Japanese carmaker showcased a Toyota Corolla Altis FFV-SHEV, imported from Toyota Brazil, as part of this new initiative during the unveiling. The Union Minister of Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari attended the launch of this pilot program in New Delhi as a special guest as well.