In India, Piaggio Vehicles Pvt Ltd (PVPL), a 100 % subsidiary of the Italian Piaggio Group, has rolled out its Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) powered, water-cooled 395cc engine vehicle range for the Patna, Bihar market. The launch coincides with the inauguration of the city gas distribution (CGD) system in Patna, a ancient city that sprawls alongside the Ganges River.
The new Piaggio 395cc three-wheelers include the Apé Auto DX, the industry-first six-foot cargo deck Apé Xtra LDX+ and the Apé Xtra LDX, the latter being the first of its kind to be water-cooled. Piaggio claims these models offer best-in-class performance in terms of power, pick-up, range and maintenance. Running costs will be substantially lower than regular three-wheelers and will help meet the growing demand for commercial vehicle mobility solutions particularly suited to intra-city travel in Bihar.
Piaggio explains the new range of ground-breaking CNG vehicles reinforces its commitment to the last-mile segment of the vehicle market.
According to Saju Nair, EVP and Head of the Commercial Vehicle Business, Piaggio India, “Alternate fuel technology is growing day by day in India and hence to cater to the market’s changing needs we have introduced this new range of CNG vehicles for the Bihar market. Piaggio is the market leader in the three-wheeler category in Bihar and with this new range of vehicles we are confident of maintaining and further strengthening our leadership in the CNG segment as well. For the Bihar market, we have designed a special exchange scheme for old petrol and diesel autorickshaws which have completed their legal age.”
Malind Kapur, senior vice-president, Marketing and Channel Development, Piaggio Vehicles said, “I would like to thank the government for their emphasis on alternate fuels in Patna. Setting up of CNG stations in Patna under the Urja Ganga project will further strengthen the small commercial vehicle industry in Bihar. We also have tie-ups with nationalised banks for the benefit of our customers. With this CNG infrastructure, a number of three-wheelers will now adopt and convert to CNG in a big way in Patna and I see many new opportunities for us in the coming future.”
Two CNG filling stations have so far opened in Patna, one on Bypass Road (West Ramkrishna Nagar, Mithapur) and the other in the locality of Rukanpura. The availability of supply and the renewed emphasis on natural gas fueled vehicles has stimulated a vehicle conversion business in Patna also, using specialised retrofit garages at the filling stations.
Launched in India in 1999, Piaggio operates a state-of-the-art manufacturing plant at Baramati in Maharashtra, with an installed annual production capacity of over 300,000 three-wheelers and 80,000 four-wheelers.