September 1, 2021 3:05:27 am
With few electric options in the market and affordability a major hurdle for EV ownership in India, the rising fuel prices over the last one year seem to have nudged car buyers towards the CNG variants. Market leader Maruti Suzuki India Limited has seen a sharp rise in sale of CNG variants over the last four years, taking its share from 4.6 per cent of the total cars sold in FY18 to 17.2 per cent in the first four months of FY22.
While the company sold 75,000 CNG variants (4.6 per cent of its total sales) in FY18, the sales of the CNG variants went up to 1.63 lakh units (11.5 per cent of its total sales) in the year ended March 2021. With petrol prices breaching the Rs 100-mark across a large number of states in the country, the last four months have seen a big jump in sales of CNG variants. In the four-month period between April and July, MSIL has sold 58,000 units (17.2 per cent of its total sales) and the company expects to sell around 3 lakh vehicles that are CNG variants.
“As per kilometre running cost of petrol and diesel vehicle has reached around Rs 4-5, a large number of new car buyers are going for CNG vehicles as the running cost for them is much lower at around Rs 1.6-1.7 per kilometre. The demand has also improved for these cars on account of improvement in CNG infrastructure across the country,” said Shashank Srivastava, senior executive director at Maruti Suzuki India Limited.
While MSIL expects a further increase in the share of CNG variants, Srivastava said this year the company expects to sell around 3 lakh units of the variant.
While CNG’s share in overall sale of MSIL this year is 17.2 per cent, the company said that the share is much higher if one looks at its share across the 8 models that offer the variant. Srivastava said that said that in the period between April and July, the share of CNG variants across the 8 models stood at 34 per cent, up from 26 per cent last year. So, this year, one in every three cars sold across these 8 models was a CNG car.
While Maruti has been increasing the availability of CNG variants across its models, the demand has risen also on account of availability of CNG across states. The CNG station network has grown nearly three times in the last five years. From 1,071 CNG stations in April 2016, the number rose to 3,101 stations in April 2021. The presence across cities has also grown from 66 cities in 2014 to 266 as of July 2021. This is set to grow further with the Union Petroleum & Natural Gas Minister stating last year that India would have 10,000 CNG stations in next 7- 8 years.
Even in a Covid year, CNG expansion continued in fast pace. While 477 stations were added in 2019-20, 894 new CNG stations were added across India in 2020-21.
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