So far, Volkswagen Group has refrained from offering a CNG engine in India. Now, though, the company is showing a great interest in selling CNG models in the country, as per a new report from Autocar Professional.
With the objective of reducing the country’s oil imports, Dharmendra Pradhan, Union Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas & Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, announced at the Global Mobility Summit 2018 that there are plans to have about 10,000 CNG stations within a decade, covering over half of the country.
Last week, Skoda and Volkswagen Group India opened a new Technology Center in Chakan. Speaking to the industrial publication at the event, Gurpratap Boparai, the Managing Director of Skoda Auto India and also Volkswagen India from this month, said: “There's a big scope for Volkswagen India in the CNG vehicle space if stated plans get executed.”
“We are watching the space with great interest. The market image of CNG also has to improve.”
Volkswagen Group is more inclined towards CNG models than EVs. According to Boparai, CNG is “an excellent option” for India, especially compared to electric.
“Maybe CNG makes more sense if we can get a network in. Let's not forget if we get electrics, the batteries are going to come from China.”
Automakers in India have offered CNG engines in mostly their entry-level, low-cost cars. That’s probably the reason why Boparai is concerned about their image. Internationally, Volkswagen Group offers CNG engines in a wide range of models, from the pocket-friendly Skoda Citigo city car to the luxurious Audi A5 Sportback mid-size four-door coupe.
In India, the engine options of the MQB A0 IN VW and Skoda models may include the 1.0-litre TGI engine, a CNG-compliant version of the 1.0-litre TSI three-cylinder petrol unit that is planned for local manufacturing. For reference, the engine line-up of nearly all MQB A0 IN models in Europe, namely the VW Polo, Seat Ibiza, Seat Arona and Skoda Scala, includes a 1.0-litre turbocharged three-cylinder petrol-CNG unit.