TVS has just launched the Apache RTR 200 Fi E100 which is the first ever ethanol-powered bike in the country. With the launch of this bike, the debate about adopting ethanol as an alternative option to the conventional fuel has paced up.
The union transport minister Nitin Gadkari has been encouraging the use of ethanol because of its several benefits over the conventional fuel. To begin with, Ethanol can be produced locally using sugarcane molasses versus the crude oil that is imported into the country worth $128 billion every year. Around 10 percent of which is used in motorcycles alone.
Ethanol is also nature friendly and produces lesser pollution than the conventional fuel that is why it is also promoted as a part of green mobility movement. It reduces emission of nitrogen oxide, carbon monoxide and sulphur-di-oxide. The fuel efficiency of Ethanol, however, is lower than the petrol but it can be balanced out considering the lower prices of Ethanol compared to petrol. Ethanol is currently priced at around Rs 52 per litre while petrol costs somewhere around Rs 72 per litre depending on the state. Even if we calculate 1.3 litre of Ethanol for the output of one litre of petrol, it would about four rupees cheaper.
The biggest challenge in using Ethanol in mainstream is the distribution. India does not have any Ethanol pumps yet, but with an arrival of such dedicated vehicles, we might see them coming soon. Even in the blending of two fuels, we have only managed to achieve less than 10 percent of blending of Ethanol in the petrol. The Apache RTR 200 Fi E100 requires at least 80 percent of Ethanol in the fuel. It could also run on 100 percent Ethanol, which isnt possible to get in India at the moment.
The transport minister has promised to work on this direction and take all the steps possible from the government’s side. “I have asked the petroleum ministry to allow pure ethanol pumps to be set up but they have been reluctant so far due to lack of any vehicles for it. Now that such vehicles are being launched, I will renew my efforts,” Gadkari said.