CNG takes centre stage: Bajaj's Re 1/km bike challenges EV narrative

Bajaj claims a fuel cost of just Rs 1/km, a 50% reduction compared to petrol counterparts.

By Shahkar Abidi calendar 05 Jul 2024 Views icon2752 Views Share - Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Share to LinkedIn Share to Whatsapp
CNG takes centre stage: Bajaj's Re 1/km bike challenges EV narrative

Bajaj Auto, the nation's leading two-wheeler manufacturer,  launched the world's first CNG motorcycle, the Freedom 125. This launch comes amidst sluggish EV adoption, despite government incentives. 

Rajiv Bajaj, the Managing Director of Bajaj Auto took a shot at the EV market, saying that in spite of subsidies and cash burnt by startups, it has not 'propelled electric vehicles like a rocket, highlighting its minimal 4-5% penetration in two-wheelers and a mere 1% in cars. 

The Freedom 125, unveiled at Bajaj's Akurdi campus in the presence of Union Minister Nitin Gadkari, boasts a significant advantage – bypassing the need for subsidies. With a starting price of Rs 95,000 (ex-showroom), it caters to the cost-conscious Indian customer.

The crux of the matter lies in the operational costs. Bajaj claims a fuel cost of just Re 1/km, a 50% reduction compared to petrol counterparts. Additionally, the Freedom 125 claims lower emissions, with 26% less Co2 and 43% less NOx.

This launch throws a challenge to the EV industry. While electric may be the future, Bajaj Auto highlights the immediate viability of CNG technology for cost-effective and cleaner two-wheeler transportation. It states that the bike is designed to be dual fuel, and also has a petrol tank which can be used as backup fuel.  

One of the reasons for Bajaj Auto's CNG bike launch is the growing network of CNG refuelling stations, which currently stand at around 6000 and are likely to jump to 13,000 in a couple of years.

Tags: CNG
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