TVS and Mahindra are testing the viability of engines that run on 100% ethanol.
Last month, Nitin Gadkari, Minister for Road Transport and Highways, had appealed to automakers to develop vehicles that can run on ethanol. It seems like TVS and Mahindra have responded to the union minister’s call as one media report suggests that both companies have initiated pilot projects in Pune to produce flex fuel-based engines for 2-wheelers.
Flex fuel engines can run on blended fuel with high concentrations of ethanol. At present, we get fuel that contains 8.6% ethanol. However, the government aims to increase it to 20% by 2025. The government has also asked manufacturers to check the viability of 100% ethanol-based engines (E100). The report states that both TVS and Mahindra are currently evaluating E100 vehicles.
One of the major hurdles for launching E100 vehicles in the market is to maintain a steady supply of ethanol. To achieve a 20% blend would require 1,016 crore litres of ethanol per annum.
Different government agencies are working to increase the supply of ethanol. The majority of the ethanol used to be produced from molasses, but now the grain-based ethanol made from rice husk, bran, broken rice, wheat stock and corn is also available.
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