As the Indian government has pushed through with stricter emission and fuel efficiency norms to deal with alarming pollution levels in most cities, vehicles with diesel engines may become a relic of the past by as early as the next decade. For automakers, the development cost of diesel powertrains or engines would almost double in the next five years, while the ever-narrowing price difference at the fuel pump will not make diesel cars a viable prospect for customers either.
According to R.C. Bhargava, chairman of Maruti Suzuki, electrification is the only option for light commercial vehicles while heavy vehicles like buses can be electrified or might run on liquefied natural gas (LNG), depending on the development and operational costs.
If diesel survives, its refuge would be in segments like the bigger sport utility vehicles (SUVs) or multi-purpose vehicles (MPVs), since customers at higher price points would not be constrained by the affordability factor.
By 2030, the union government will install 10,000 CNG pumps across the country to reduce the shortage of retail outlets. Through its public sector units like Gas Authority of India Ltd, the government also wants to promote the usage of LNG-based commercial vehicles.