Indian commercial vehicle manufacturer SML Isuzu, headquartered in Chandigarh, has delivered its first Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) vehicle in Rajasthan’s capital city of Jaipur – the Sartaj HG 72 truck. The company seeks to capitalize on CNG infrastructure being built by Rajasthan State Gas Ltd (RSGL) along the Jaipur-Delhi highway and promote CNG transportation as a cost-effective fuel.
RSGL has already set up a mother station at Neemrana with a capacity to service 250 cars or 50 trucks daily. A second, larger station is planned for Neemrana also, able to refuel up to 250 trucks daily. Yet another station has been set up in Kukkas.
The rollout of CNG refuelling stations is part of the Rajasthan government’s strategy to create gas infrastructure for provision to domestic, automotive, commercial and industrial customers.
Ravi Agarwal, managing director of RSGL, says there is more to come: “The CNG vehicle launch by SML Isuzu in Jaipur is the first by any company in the state. In order to further encourage the adoption of CNG-powered vehicles, we are planning to set up two more stations along the Jaipur-Delhi highway. An MoU has already been signed with the Indian Oil Corporation which will facilitate the two stations at its retail outlets.”
RSGL is also planning to expand the network from Jaipur to Kota, Baran and Jhalawar.
There are significant benefits for operators. CNG vehicles on a round-trip from Jaipur to Delhi have the potential to save more than USD 8,000 in annual operating costs (based on 20 trips per month), brought about by exemption from the ‘green tax’ levied by the government on vehicles powered by conventional fuels and fuel savings at the pump. Additionally, operators typically save about 5% on annual maintenance costs, RSGL says.
As the National Green tribunal is now planning to retire diesel vehicles of 15-years or more in Delhi, there is expectation that more and more cities will look to natural gas as a cleaner, more economical transport fuel. Agarwal says there are already many CNG-powered vehicles available right now in India and, given the increasing concern over rising pollution levels, cities should begin the transition now.