While cities like Delhi have embraced CNG as a fuel for passenger vehicles, it looks like Bangalore, one of the biggest towns in India, is still a far way from having a substantial number of cars running on CNG. Actually, it’s been only about 18 months since Bangalore got its first-ever Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) station. Out of the 73 lakh vehicles registered in the city, only about 350 are CNG-compatible. As per officials of GAIL Gas, which operates the CNG station near Laggere, a majority of the cars that run on CNG are registered outside Karnataka. Out of the 350 CNG vehicles, only 45 are passenger cars.
It’s being said that the advent of electric vehicles, shortage of CNG stations, and lack of awareness are the reasons for the low popularity of CNG. Three CNG filling stations which are meant exclusively for BMTC buses have been commissioned in the corporation’s Sumanahalli, Hennur, and Peenya depots. However, they lie unused due to the less number of CNG vehicles. Back in 2014, the Government announced a plan to induct as many as 271 CNG buses into the BMTC fleet. However, the interest has now shifted towards buses with an electric powerplant. GAIL Gas, however, is still optimistic and has planned to set up as many as 60 filling stations across the city in next 3 or 4 years.
“We are planning to build four more CNG stations in the next few weeks in Peenya, Bommasandra, Jigani and Bande Kodigehalli (on the alternative road to the airport via Hennur),” said Partha Jana, general manager (projects), GAIL. Officials have said that many existing vehicles can be easily retrofitted with CNG. At present, the city has four authorized retro-fitting centers, where CNG conversion can be done for roughly Rs 28,000 for cars, Rs 24,000 for two-wheelers, and Rs 25,000 for autorickshaws. CNG is cheaper than both Petrol and Diesel. Moreover, CNG vehicles are cheaper than electric ones. “Electric vehicles are limited to short-range travel and can’t be used round the clock compared to those running on CNG. The fuel is available in all major cities but electric vehicle charging infrastructure is minimal in big cities and non-existent in smaller ones,” said a senior GAIL Gas official. “Refiling time for CNG vehicles is also lesser than that of electric vehicles,” he added. GAIL expects Bangalore to have more than 2 lakh CNG vehicles, excluding two-wheelers, in next four years.
Speaking of the low popularity of CNG vehicles in the city, Environmentalist A N Yellappa Reddy said: “It’s unfortunate that CNG is yet to gain popularity despite the rise in pollution levels. The government should make CNG mandatory for autos and commercial vehicles in the first phase and gradually extend the move to other vehicles”.
via ET Auto
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