Union Minister for Road Transport and Highway Nitin Gadkari is set to unveil a 100 per cent ethanol fuel variant of Toyota Innova MPV on Tuesday.
Confirming the development at a media conclave last week, Mr Gadkari had said, “On August 29, I am going to launch the popular (Toyota) Innova car on 100 per cent ethanol.” Ethanol comes from plants– indicated by E100. Toyota, in a statement, said that the Ethanol-powered Innova will be the world’s first BS-VI (Stage-II) electrified flex fuel vehicle.
Mt Gadkari has been at the forefront of the campaign to shift to alternative fuel options. Last year, the minister launched the Toyota Mirai EV, which runs purely on hydrogen-generated electricity. Speaking at the event, Mr Gadkari said that he was first intrigued by biofuels way back in 2004 when petrol prices started spiking. He visited Brazil to understand how a shift to biofuels could change the game.
What Biofuel Shift Means For India?
India depends on oil imports to meet fuel needs, causing great stress on the state coffers. According to Mr Gadkari, the current import bill for petroleum is around Rs 16 lakh crore. With a shift to biofuel options such as ethanol, derived from plant-based sources like sugarcane, the oil import bills could be cut down, making the country more self-reliant to meet its fuel needs.
“If we want to become atmanirbhar (self-reliant) we have to bring this oil import to zero. At present, it is ₹16 lakh crore. This is a big loss to the economy. India needs to take more sustainable measures as pollution is a big problem in the country,” Mr Gadkari was quoted as saying by Mint.
How Does It Change the Game?
The use of biofuels will also help in curbing pollution. To push bio-fuel consumption, India, last year, rolled out petrol mixed with 20 per cent ethanol. The plan is to double the quantity of ethanol by 2025. The use of 20 per cent ethanol-blended petrol is estimated to cut carbon monoxide emission by 50 per cent in two-wheelers and about 30 per cent in four-wheelers compared to neat petrol.