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India’s First LNG-Powered Bus by Tata Motors Unveiled in Kerala

Published On Nov 09, 2016By Lisa Pradhan

In a bid to help reduce vehicular pollution in the country, Tata Motors has come up with a LNG-powered bus, the first of its kind in India. The LNG (Liquefied Natural Gas) bus was unveiled in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala yesterday, thus making the state the first one to explore the trial run of the new technology. The company plans to bring out the vehicle in the market in April 2017.

Apart from top officials of Tata Motors, Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas Shri Dharmendra Pradhan and Chief Minister of Kerala Shri Pinarayi Vijayan, were present at the occasion. The pilot-run was flagged off on the sidelines of the fourth conference of the Ministers, set up by the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways.

The vehicles will initially be offered in a 35-seater, 9 litre engine and a 50-seater, 12 litre engine. The buses will be rolled out as standard floor buses and will be in the 16 tonne range, generating a power of 130 hp. Tata Motors has not yet revealed the pricing of the bus.

Talking about the new bus, Mr. Ravi Pisharody, Executive Director, Commercial Vehicles, Tata Motors, said, “We at Tata Motors are proud to showcase the country’s first LNG bus; our gas-fueled people mover. As one of the country’s largest bus manufacturers, the Tata LNG bus is based on the Tata Motors understanding of the various transport authorities for public transport, creating a win-win situation for all stakeholders – for clean, safe, affordable and comfortable commuting.”

The introduction of the LNG fueled bus in Kerala is a joint effort of Petronet LNG, Indian Oil Corporation and Tata Motors. As compared to diesel, LNG buses run at 30 to 40 percent lesser costs, resulting in huge savings. Also, the range of CNG vehicles are limited, whereas LNG buses can run up to 600 km at a stretch, making the vehicles ideal for long distance, inter-city mass transportation.

As the government inches towards a fuel-based economy, the company foresees an increased demand for LNG in the next few years that will be triggered by demand from power, fertilizer and automotive sectors. LNG emits 50 percent less carbon than diesel and is said to be a more environment-friendly alternative for public transportation.

Speaking to BusesDekho, Mr. Ajit Kumar Jindal, Head of Technology at Tata Motors, said, “This bus was launched with the main aim of offering more option to customers. As compared to diesel, LNG vehicles provide more benefits. They are eco-friendly, can travel for longer distances and have lesser emissions. However, these buses are limited depending on the availability of LNG fuel.”

Currently, LNG is limited to the western coast and Petronet LNG has set up the country’s first LNG terminal at Kochi, Kerala and Dahej, Gujarat. More terminals are expected to be built in the west coast and in the Delhi-Mumbai corridor in the near future.

Tata Motors, the largest manufacturer of commercial vehicles in India and among the Top 10 globally, had also pioneered the introduction of CNG (Compressed Natural Gas) vehicles. The company plans to introduce LNG fuel technology in trucks after the successful run in buses.

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