Tata Motors drives into green territory with alternative fuel CVs

by Shahkar Abidi & Amit Vijay M 06 Sep 2022

With the focus to join the zero emissions bandwagon, Tata Motors has both the will and the resources to make a huge contribution in this direction. At the spectacular 14 model CNG-truck roll-out event on Monday in Mumbai, the truck and bus maker clearly indicated that this is the way forward.

It’s not just CNG that’s being advocated for commercial operations by Tata Motors as they have already begun exploring alternatives and potential applications with hydrogen.

"Tata Motors as part of its alternate fuel journey has mapped out its immediate focus to be CNG after which the automaker will shift focus towards LNG. This will be followed by Battery Electric Vehicles in trucks, fuel cell electric vehicles and in the development are hydrogen-powered ICE Engines," says V Seethapati, vice president M&HCV Product Line.

On the technology front, Tata Motors said it was looking at various options where hydrogen could be used in a conventional internal combustion engine (ICE). This aspect, if successful for commercial applications could help drastically cut tailpipe emissions as the by-product is clean water.

Working with hydrogen is not so easy as it presents its unique technical problems – especially in the areas of storage.
"The technology is expensive and handling and storing hydrogen is another tough job. The need as of now for the government, policymakers, industry to collaborate to make this happen," Seethapati added.

Rajendra Petkar, Chief Technology Officer added that the ICE H2ICE as the project is called is actively under development and could take time for implementation given the technical challenges that have to be met. “The technology is currently in the development stage and will take some time but surely, it will be an important stepping-stone in achieving net-zero ambitions.”

Petkar also highlighted the key points of the roadmap it has for all fuels and includes diesel, followed by CNG, bio-CNG, ethanol-blended petrol, LNG, battery electric and fuel cell.

Exploring the possibilities of blending hydrogen with CNG, Petkar said that while up to 18 percent blending is permitted, the core challenge is the availability of hydrogen. 

On the subject of hydrogen, Tata Motors has indicated that it is also considering making hydrogen fuel cells, a technology the truck maker is familiar with. Tata Motors had already showcased a fuel cell powered bus several years ago.  

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