20th November 2023: Maruti is gearing up to introduce its inaugural flex fuel car in the Indian market, running on sugarcane juice. Expected to be a compact vehicle, it is slated for a potential launch by 2025. The move aims to offer customers an alternative to cope with escalating petrol and diesel prices in India, providing a cost-effective solution that matches petrol’s power output. While Maruti isn’t the first to explore this technology, the Maruti Suzuki WagonR Flex Fuel, unveiled at Auto Expo, stands out as a notable addition to the company’s lineup.
Manufactured locally by Maruti Suzuki engineers, the car is designed to operate on a blended ethanol engine ranging from 20% to 85%. The vehicle will utilize the existing 1.2-liter Naturally Aspirated petrol engine with substantial modifications to enhance its performance on the ethanol blend. The engine will comply with BS6 standards and feature a five-speed manual transmission. Maruti Suzuki asserts that the ethanol-based WagonR will be significantly more eco-friendly, emitting up to 79% fewer pollutants compared to its petrol counterpart, while maintaining equivalent performance.
Union Transport Minister Shri Nitin Gadkari has endorsed the adoption of flex fuel technology, emphasizing its potential to propel India towards self-sufficiency by reducing the need for costly petrol imports. The flex fuel engine allows for a mixture of 20% to 85% ethanol with petrol, presenting an environmentally friendly alternative. Maruti Suzuki emphasizes that they possess the technology and await the necessary infrastructure for implementation.
Flex fuel technology, an alternative fuel derived from a blend of petrol, methanol, or ethanol, allows engines to run on multiple fuel types. Maruti Suzuki highlights their readiness for this technology, which involves modifications to the engine and fuel system while maintaining a resemblance to traditional petrol models. Ethanol, a key component, is derived from corn, offering economic advantages over regular petrol, with prices ranging between ₹60 to ₹70 as compared to ₹100 for petrol in the Indian market. This transition to flex fuel not only promises economic benefits but also stands to positively impact farmers and contribute to overall economic growth. Although the widespread adoption of flex fuel in India may take time, ongoing efforts suggest a future with numerous projects incorporating this technology. Recently, international sightings of the Toyota Innova High Cross equipped with flex fuel technology indicate a global trend towards embracing this alternative fuel solution.