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Maruti Suzuki flex fuel roll out by 2025, E20 blend coming April 1

Maruti Suzuki showcased the Wagon R flex fuel at Auto Expo 2023; brand targets to roll out flex fuel cars by 2025.

Maruti Suzuki‘s CEO and managing director Hisashi Takeuchi expressed his concern over the availability of flex fuels in India for the commercial rollout of the flex-fuel Wagon R and other variants.

  1. E20 blend flex fuel to be available from April 1 2023
  2. Maruti targets to roll out flex fuel cars by 2025
  3. MG Euniq 7 flex-cell MPV showcased at Auto Expo 2023

“We are ready with our flex-fuel offerings, but unless such fuels are readily available pan India, it will be extremely difficult for us to commercially start production,” Takeuchi said in an exclusive conversation with our sister publication Autocar Professional on the sidelines of SIAM’s International Symposium for Thriving Eco Energy on Mobility (ISYEM).   

Takeuchi further said Maruti Suzuki is on target to roll out its flex-fuel programme by 2025 and is keenly watching the developments around fuel availability in the country. 

Maruti Suzuki has showcased a prototype of India’s first mass-market flex-fuel car Wagon R, designed to run on any ethanol-petrol blend between 20 percent (E20) and 85 percent (E85) fuel. This has been developed by the company’s engineers along with inputs from Suzuki Motor Corporation, Japan.

Sharing the company’s progress, Takeuchi said Maruti Suzuki had already overcome the challenge to make their engines compatible with higher ethanol blends (E20-E85). He added that they are “ready and in advanced stages of developing new components like a new fuel system, including a heated fuel rail for cold start assists and a sensor for ethanol percentage detection.”  

E20 ethanol blend roll-out in India

Union Petroleum Minister Hardeep Singh Puri, who was also present at the summit, said the phased roll-out of E20 will begin on April 1. The fuel will be available at select outlets and “existing engines will not require making significant changes,” Puri said.

Puri added that the proposed roll-out will give further impetus to the government’s plans of achieving the level of 20 percent ethanol blending in the overall petrol supply in the country by 2026.

Talking about India’s progress in terms of ethanol blending, the minister said that ethanol blending in petrol has gone up from 1.53 percent in 2013-’14 to 10.17 percent in 2022, which was well ahead of the November 2022 deadline. “We have advanced to achieve 20 percent ethanol blending in petrol from 2030 to 2025-’26,” he said. 

He said that this has not only augmented the country’s energy security but also translated into a forex savings of over Rs 41,500 crore, reduced greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of 27 lakh million tonnes and benefitted farmers with expeditious payment of over Rs 40,600 crore made to them.

Earlier, Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari had said he would urge the petroleum minister to set up ethanol-petrol pumps. Gadkari said he would meet Puri soon to discuss the formulation of the policy. “In Pune, we have three [ethanol] pumps but now the problem is that we need to have scooters and auto rickshaws available on flex-fuel engines and we need to coordinate them,” Gadkari said at Auto Expo 2023.

Maruti Suzuki’s flex fuel plans

Takeuchi welcomed the government’s policy-making, saying, “It is good to know that the government is taking concrete steps in this direction. Such steps will encourage us to start commercial production from 2025 or earliest as and when infrastructure is made available.”

Earlier, MG Motor India showcased the production-ready hydrogen fuel-cell MPV – the Euniq 7. On the unveiling of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles by other manufacturers, Takeuchi said that Maruti welcomes the industry’s move towards clean and alternate fuels. On the possibility of Maruti Suzuki launching similar variants, he explained, “We have all the technologies available and at the right time, we will launch similar products.”

Maruti Suzuki at Auto Expo 2023

Maruti Suzuki had a sprawling display at Auto Expo 2023. The carmaker showcased the eVX SUV which previews Maruti Suzuki’s first born-electric SUV that will go on sale in 2025, and will take on the upcoming Creta EV. Maruti Suzuki also showcased the much awaited five-door Jimny along with the Fronx crossover. The Jimny will go on sale in May 2023 while the Fronx will go on sale in April 2023. Maruti Suzuki also showcased the upcoming Brezza CNG.  

Also see: 

Analysis: Why India is pursuing ethanol as an automotive fuel

Auto Expo 2023: Toyota shows alternative fuel cars, SUVs


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