Maruti Ertiga CNG to be launched next week?

FinancialExpress reports that Maruti Suzuki could launch the Ertiga CNG as early as next week. The CNG powered version of the Ertiga is expected to use the 1.4 Liter K-Series petrol engine, converted to run on CNG. The 1.4 Liter K-Series petrol engine outputs 94 Bhp-130 Nm and a similar power and torque output could be delivered on CNG too. The Ertiga CNG will come with a supplementary petrol tank, a handy addition that will give the MPV its dual fuel moniker. Variants of the Ertiga MPV in CNG-Petrol guise are said to be priced about 30,000 rupees higher than the equivalent petrol variants. However, only LXi and VXi version of the Ertiga CNG might go on sale. 

At the price levels at which the Ertiga CNG is anticipated to sell at, the MPV will undercut its diesel version by quite a margin. The lower price tag of the Ertiga CNG will make it an cost effective city MPV for folks looking at a compact people mover. The Maruti Ertiga CNG will be the second Maruti car to be available in three fuel options, petrol, diesel and CNG, after the SX4 sedan.   It must be noted that availability of CNG remains confined to the bigger cities of India such as Delhi and Mumbai. This factor makes the Ertiga CNG more of an urban MPV suited for cities which have plenty of CNG dispensing outlets.

Now, to the downsides of CNG, as expressed by many CNG owners. One: CNG car owners need to line up behind long queues of autorickshaws and other commercial vehicles to tank up on leading to a long time for refueling. CNG. Two: The 10 kilogram capacity of CNG tanks on most cars delivers a range of 200-300 Kms, making a higher number of refueling trips necessary when compared that on petrol or diesel cars, which deliver a higher range per tankful due to higher tank capacities. Three: A CNG tank in the boot reduces luggage space significantly. However, CNG does bring aboard a host of advantages. CNG, a cleaner burning fuel than petrol and diesel, is also cheaper than both petrol and diesel.

Back of the hand calculations drive home the advantage of CNG over Diesel. One kilogram of CNG is priced at 39.90 rupees at Delhi, while 1 liter of diesel is priced at 50.25 rupees. The near 10 rupees difference, makes diesel 25% more expensive than CNG. Also, diesel cars, assuming a 70,000 rupees price differential between CNG and diesel powered cars, are significantly more expensive to buy initially. Assuming that a person drives about 1,000 kilometers a month predominantly on Delhi streets, CNG refueling costs for a car such as the SX4 CNG will be about 2,000 rupees(Assuming a mileage of 20 Kms per Kg of CNG). The same distance covered in Delhi on a diesel powered Maruti SX4 will cost about 3,000 rupees(Assuming a city mileage of 15 Kmpl). 

So, it's evident that a CNG powered car isn't just less expensive to buy, but is also less expensive to run if the usage is mainly in the city. And we haven't even begun factoring in the lower maintenance costs of petrol-CNG cars when compared to diesel models. All in all, the launch of the Ertiga in CNG-Petrol dual fuel guise is expected to boost volumes for Maruti Suzuki in the bigger cities of India, where CNG is readily available. Maruti has also been forced to go slow on petrol car production due to the buyer sentiment tilted towards diesel. The launch of the Ertiga CNG will also allow Maruti to optimally utilize its petrol car production capacity. 

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