Pune: The Indian green mobility firm Blue Energy has rolled out the first commercially-available liquefied natural gas (LNG) out of its new Chakan plant on Monday, with the powertrains sourced from the Italian heavy vehicles maker Iveco, the latter saying that supplying engines is the first step towards stepping into more of the new energies market, especially in heavy-duty applications.
While the company has not yet revealed the price of the truck, the firm added that it will be priced around 40% higher than a diesel truck of its size, with the LNG truck having a lower total cost of ownership, and savings for the fleet owners with higher fuel efficiency, as well as lower carbon emissions than a diesel truck.
Blue Energy added that the new truck meant for long-haul, heavy-duty applications, titled the 5528 4×2, is equipped with a 1,000 litre LNG tank that has a range of around 1,400 kilometres in one fill, adding that it is working with various players- state-owned oil-marketing companies, private fuel space operators, as well as new entrepreneurs- to help set up more LNG stations along key trucking routes to alleviate range anxieties.
The company’s CEO, Anirudh Bhuwalka, said in an interaction that LNG stations will be progressively rolled out by various entities over the next year, in line with the union government’s plans to have 1,000 LNG stations in the next three years.
“The infrastructure for LNG trucking is underway. The state-owned oil companies have a mandate to set up LNG stations, and other players are looking into the business too. Around 25 LNG stations are slated to go live in the next three to six months, and by 2023, there should be 50 LNG stations in India. This will provide confidence to LNG infrastructure players, including truck owners, and will be a catalyst for change,” he said.
Iveco is supplying the engines, manufactured at its Italian facilities, to Blue Energy, through its FPT Industrial powertrains platform. The Iveco Group CEO, Gerrit Marx, said that other greener fuel opportunities for trucking will also be explored over the next few years for Indian and other markets.
“Green trucking went from non-existent in Europe, to around 4% of the total market in 2021. For sustainable fuel opportunities in a range of more than 500 kilometres, the only option right now is LNG. The hydrogen combustion engines are still in an experimental phase, and we are also trying out hybrid hydrogen-methane fuels. However, hydrogen combustion engines right now have an inferior power output compared to diesel engines, and will need around five to eight years of development before rollout,” Marx added.