As part of its decarbonization journey, Maruti Suzuki India Limited (Maruti Suzuki) showcased the Wagon R Flex Fuel prototype model in Delhi. India’s 1st mass segment Flex Fuel car, designed to run on any ethanol-petrol blend between 20% (E20) and 85% (E85) fuel, was unveiled in the presence of Hon’ble Minister of Road Transport & Highways, Shri Nitin Gadkari. This car is designed and developed locally by engineers of Maruti Suzuki, with necessary support from Suzuki Motor Corporation, Japan.
The Wagon R Flex Fuel prototype vehicle has an upgraded engine designed specifically to use higher ethanol-blended petrol. To make the engine compatible with higher ethanol blends (E20-E85), new fuel system technologies like heated fuel rail for cold start assist and ethanol sensor for ethanol percentage detection have been built. Further, components like engine management system, upgraded fuel pump and fuel injector, among others, have been developed along with upgradation of other mechanical components to ensure engine as well as vehicle durability. To align to the latest regulations, Maruti Suzuki has developed engine management system strategies and emission control system to comply with the stringent BS6 Phase-II emission norms.
Being the first-time development for such a technology for Indian conditions and being targeted to fully meet the stringent emission norms, Maruti Suzuki plans to do extensive evaluation of this technology in the Indian market with Indian ethanol-blended fuel.
At the occasion, Mr. Hisashi Takeuchi, Managing Director & CEO, Maruti Suzuki India Limited said, “Maruti Suzuki has consistently aligned itself to the national objectives of reducing country’s oil import burden and improving the environment. Designed and developed locally in India with support from SMC, Japan, the Wagon R Flex Fuel prototype vehicle emboldens Government of India’s ‘Make in India’ efforts. Notably, our research shows that ethanol fuel based Wagon R Flex Fuel prototype vehicle operating on E85 fuel will help reduce tailpipe GHG emissions by 79% in comparison to a conventional gasoline Wagon R model while ensuring the same power performance. Its benefits have also been outlined in Niti Aayog’s ‘Roadmap for Ethanol Blending in India 2020-25’ which elaborates on the plan for production and utilization of ethanol for automotive application. Further, India is the largest producer & consumer of sugar, and its second largest exporter in the world. Ethanol made from processing crop waste, is ideal for an agrarian economy. This also gives an impetus to the ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ initiative”.
He added, “It is our continuous endeavor to democratize new technology to make it accessible to the masses. Showcasing this Flex Fuel prototype vehicle is a step in this direction. We will introduce our first Flex Fuel vehicle for the compact segment by 2025. This is aligned to our People Technology principle which aims to make technology accessible to the masses to create a positive and tangible impact on the society.”
In line with the Government of India’s focus on promoting clean-fuel vehicles, Maruti Suzuki is working on a variety of technologies including Electric, Hybrid Electric, CNG, Bio-gas, Ethanol, Flex-Fuel, etc. The company has already announced its commitment to make its entire product range E20 fuel material compliant by March 2023.