CNG Vs Electric Car

CNG Vs Electric Car, which is more sustainable? Must read in 2021

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CNG Vs Electric Car

CNG Vs Electric Car

CNG Vs Electric Car – Global warming and raising pollution levels have triggered need of green energy. Electric vehicles are considered as path breaking innovation in the auto industry. Sky rocketing fossil fuel prices has also one of the main reason for faster adoption of clean energy vehicles. However, among the buyer and investors hot discussion is going on which one is the best option between CNG and Electric. There is no straight forward answer to this question. In country like India CNG has gained some ground however electric vehicles are also gaining popularity steadily.

CNG Vs Electric Car – About CNG

CNG – Compressed Natural Gas is basically methane gas. China, Iran, India, Brazil, Pakistan and Argentina are the main countries where CNG vehicles are available in quite good numbers. Italy is the European leader due to the activities of the Fiat factory and its network of filling stations. Also German car factories such as VW, Opel and Mercedes offer a wide range of CNG models. In India, NCR and Gujarat are leading the rally. Gujarat has highest CNG stations. India’s largest car manufacturer – Maruti Suzuki, which accounts for 90% of the total CNG vehicle sales, has reported the highest ever sales at 157,964 units of factory-fitted S-CNG vehicles in FY21. The carmaker last year sold about 106,444 units, rising by 50%.

CNG Vs Electric Car

Pilot projects to use CNG as automobile fuel were started by GAIL (India) Limited in 1992 in collaboration with Indian Institute of Petroleum in 3 cities namely Delhi, Mumbai and Baroda.
However first factory fitted car was launched by Maruti Suzuki in 2010, since then Maruti Suzuki is selling CNG cars in good numbers. Since last 4-5 years petrol and diesel prices are hiked exorbitantly which has dragged buyers towards CNG cars.

CNG Vs Electric Car – About electric car

CNG Vs Electric Car – Comparatively electric cars are new to Indian auto sector. Reva Bengaluru based company launched it’s first electric car in 2001 and it was quite bold and ahead of time decision. In 2009 Company revamped this model and it was with Lithium-ion battery unfortunately the product couldn’t get much attention and finally in 2010 Mahindra electric company acquired REVA. However full fledged performance cars are launched in India very recently by established players like TATA Motors, Hyundai and MG Motors. Nexon EV, Kona and ZS EV are the electric cars launched by aforementioned auto OEMs respectively.

CNG Vs Electric Car – Here is the evaluation of both the technology on important parameter for helping you to make an informed decision, if you are looking for alternatives fossil fuel powered cars –

  1. Initial Investment – Nowadays in India most of the car manufacturer sell cars with factory fitted CNG kits. Typically these dual fuel vehicles are costlier than gasoline vehicle roughly by 50-70K depending on the vehicle type. As the kits are factory fitted quality is ensured and warranty remains intact. Presently initial investment for electric cars is high as core aggregates such as batteries, BMS are being imported. Due to high cost of car this currently EVS are not best suited for mass. Hence the sales figures are also not very attractive.
  2. Running Cost – certainly electric cars have lowest running cost. Typically running cost per KM comes around 1-1.5 INR. However in case of CNG this cost comes around 2.5 – 3.0 INR / km. Definitely EVs has edge over CNG in case of running cost. As there are very few moving parts in electric vehicles maintenance cost comes very low whereas in CNG IC engine is prime mover hence there will be sizeable cost of maintenance.
  3. Options available for selection – CNG offers many options. India’s largest car manufacturer offers almost car in each segment. Hyundai and Kia have also proven products available in CNG.Home grown auto major Tata Motors is also planning to launch CNG vehicles very soon. In case of electric cars very limited options available and those are out of reach of masses.
  4. Infrastructure – there is ample population of CNG stations in metros and on highways. There is steady progress on expansion of network. In case of electric vehicles, charging infrastructure is in nascent stage. It is available in metros and A class cities that too in limited numbers. There is government push for faster adoption of EV, it is expected that very soon charging infrastructure installation will gain momentum.
  5. Refilling / Charging time – In case of CNG, it takes little more time than refilling of gasoline. Presently EV needs at least 1 hour for battery charging with fast DC charger. In case of home based regular charger it takes 8-10 hours for full charging of battery. However technology is rapidly evolving focusing on reducing charging time.
  6. Range – In case of CNG vehicles the available range varies from 180 – 225 km based on the vehicle /model type as CNG stations are available in good number this appears to be a decent. In case of electric vehicles the range claimed by manufacturers is 250 – 450km.
  7. Reliability and performance records – there are several CNG vehicles running on the road It is very refined and proven technology. In case of electric vehicles technology is not very old and experts have opinion that it is not time tested. Mechanics are not trained enough to repair electric vehicles.
  8. Government initiatives and promotions – Union and most of the state governments are promoting adoption of electric vehicles. Governments are providing subsidies on EVs to make it more affordable for buyers.

CNG Vs Electric Car Conclusion – In case of CNG vehicles, those are far cheaper than EVs and are time tested. AS CNG vehicles are dual fuel vehicles, range is not major concern. However there are some drawbacks as well CNG containers occupy space considerably which reduces boot space. There is marginal drop in performance in case of CNG. In case of electric vehicles overall running cost is quite low and range offered is quite decent. As batteries are placed on floor panel, it doesn’t have any impact on boot space. However EVs also have some drawbacks such as high initial investment, high charging time and inadequate charging infrastructure. Selection out of CNG and EV is life style choice; basically the product which offers better value proposition can be better selection.

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