Maruti Suzuki India (MSIL) has just introduced the greener version of its popular Swift hatchback as part of a programme that sees the automaker expanding its petrol-CNG bi-fuel option product portfolio.
While the success of its CNG models also stems from the fact that MSIL has completely exited the diesel space since April 2020 with the onset of the BS VI emission regulations, it has heavily invested into the R&D and localisation of its CNG technology which was first introduced in 2010.
The CNG option in the Swift has been launched in two variants – VXI and ZXI – that come priced at Rs 777,000 and Rs 845,000, ex-showroom, respectively.
The CNG trims of the Swift are only offered with a five-speed manual transmission, and like other MSIL CNG models, command a premium of Rs 95,000 over their petrol-powered counterparts. The carmaker claims a fuel-efficiency figure of 30.90km per kilogram of CNG in the Swift.
The Swift becomes the second model in the company’s line-up after the Dzire compact sedan to offer CNG in its 1.2-litre, four-cylinder, K-series, Dual Jet petrol engine that churns out 77.5hp on CNG mode, while producing 90hp when driven on petrol.
Although the car remains identical to the petrol version, it gets CNG stickers on the front and rear windscreens, as well as a CNG filling nozzle next to the fuel filler cap on the rear left quarter panel.
MSIL has been responding to market dynamics and introducing the CNG option in a greater number of its models as demand for the pocket-friendly as well as greener fuel continues to be on the rise. The company is also introducing this bi-fuel option in the mid and higher variants, like the VXI and ZXI trims on the Swift. While the former gets features like a Bluetooth-enabled 2-din audio system and all-four power windows, the latter gets a 7-inch touchscreen infotainment system and alloy wheels.
“We have realised from customer feedback that even at the top-end trim of any model, running cost is extremely important for the Indian customer. So, we will be offering CNG in more variants and segments going forward,” Shashank Srivastava, director, Sales and Marketing, MSIL, had told Autocar Professional in an earlier interview.
The company claims that its ‘S-CNG technology’ vehicles go through a rigorous development cycle and stringent manufacturing checks. These cars come with dual interdependent Electronic Control Units (ECU) as well as an intelligent injection system to provide an air-fuel ratio that ensures superior performance with more savings. To ensure safety, the company said its factory-fitted kit comes with stainless steel pipes and joints to avoid corrosion and any kind of leakage in the entire CNG system, integrated wire harnesses are used to eliminate short-circuiting and a microswitch ensures that the vehicle is off and does not start during CNG refuelling process.
The Swift is the ninth model in the MSIL portfolio to offer a petrol-CNG bi-fuel option. Other models include the Alto, WagonR, Celerio, Dzire, Ertiga, Eeco, Super Carry, Tour-S and Tour H3. MSIL has sold over 1 million eco-friendly S-CNG vehicles so far and its CNG sales have grown from being pegged at 76,000 units in FY18 to 105,000 units in FY19 to 264,000 units in FY22, registering a substantial 44 percent year-on-year increase over FY21’s 162,000 units. In the current situation of supply crunch as well, 40 percent of the company’s current order backlog is for CNG variants.