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Tata Motors rolls out India’s first CNG-powered truck in M&HCV segment

The CNG models are powered by the 5.7-litre SGI engine generating peak power of 180hp and torque of 650Nm, come with a modular architecture and offer a range of up to 1,000 km

Tata Motors on Monday launched the country’s first CNG truck in the medium and heavy commercial (M&HCV) vehicle segment in the 28- and 19-tonne nodes.

Most truck makers, including Tata Motors, currently offer CNG only in the small and light commercial vehicle segments.

The company also launched a fleet of seven trucks in the intermediary and light commercial vehicle (I&LCV) segment, meant for varied applications.

Also, as part of its net zero emission target, the company is working on a host of other alternative fuel solutions, including liquefied natural gas (LNG), hydrogen, and bio-CNG to meet the long-term net zero emission goals, said Girish Wagh, executive director, Tata Motors.

“We are doing a continuous TCO (total cost of operation) analysis for various ranges — whether it’s 500 km, 1,000 km or 2,000 km.

“Depending on a particular application, we should be ready with both LNG and CNG,” Wagh told Business Standard.

LNG as a fuel because of its density makes sense for the long haul.

The CNG powertrain can be easily adapted to LNG and Tata Motors is already working on it, he said.

Tata Motors has introduced CNG-powered M&HCV trucks at a time when the price differential between diesel and CNG — which used to be as high as 40 per cent until a year ago — has narrowed to 20 per cent now.

But even at the current price, CNG is relatively feasible for operators.

“The movement towards zero-emission in CVs in the country will happen through natural gases.

“Therefore, we want to be prepared across the entire range,” Wagh said.

With the launch of the new advanced trucks that boast a host of features, including the new-age Advanced Driver Assistance System (ADAS), Tata Motors is hoping to create strong differentiation and recoup some market share it has had lost in recent months.

At the end of the June quarter of the current financial year, Tata Motors’ share in the commercial vehicle market fell to 42.5 per cent from 45 per cent at the end of FY22.

The fall in the M&HCV segment was sharper — 54.6 per cent in Q1 of FY23 from 58.2 per cent at the end of FY22.

About the market share loss, Wagh said: “We want to grow profitably.”

The company is looking to meet the objective through a combination of actions, including the introduction of a product range that adds more value to the customer and offers value-added services using digital solutions like the “Fleet Edge ”, which helps track vehicle and driver behaviour, and improves fuel efficiency.

A combination of all this and a retail-focussed approach that includes creating a pull-based approach for products and services, instead of the traditional push approach, will help the company grow profitably, said Wagh.

These fresh launches come at a time when India’s commercial vehicles market is seeing a sharp recovery after two years of downturn amid improvement in economic activities and a pick up in infrastructure and road construction projects.

ICRA Research expects the Indian commercial vehicle (CV) industry to witness volume growth of 12-15 per cent in FY23.

This shall come on the back of 112 per cent growth in dispatches the industry saw in Q1 of FY23, albeit on last year’s low base.

“This year, too, as an industry we are on a growth path,” said Wagh.

All indicators — freight rates, fleet utilisation or economic activities — are encouraging and the industry will see double-digit growth, he added.

With the launches of advanced I&LCV trucks and tippers, Tata Motors (used at construction sites) aims to tap the multi-application needs of the rapidly growing logistics and infrastructure sectors.

This will particularly address demand in urban clusters and hilly areas.

The new trucks address the growing need for safer transportation with an ADAS, offering a collision mitigation system, lane departure warning, electronic stability control, driver alerts and tyre pressure monitoring, the company said.

They also provide cleaner mobility solutions with a richer offering of alternate fuel powertrains.

Available in many fully built body options of load bodies, tippers, tankers, bulkers and trailers, these M&HCV and I&LCV trucks cater to a wide range of goods movement and applications across diverse sectors — agriculture, cement, iron & steel, container, vehicle carrier, petroleum, chemical, water tankers, LPG, FMCG, white goods, perishables, construction, mining, and municipal applications, the company said.

The CNG models are powered by the 5.7-litre SGI engine generating peak power of 180hp and torque of 650Nm, come with a modular architecture and offer a range of up to 1,000 km, the company added.

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