The country’s number one scooter manufacturer Honda Motorcycle and Scooter India (HMSI), on Tuesday, said, that a clear and stable policy roadmap will be critical in the implementation of the alternative fuel roadmap in the country.

“Policy enablers that can provide reasonable fuel cost and support for localisation would help in maintaining reasonable cost of ownership for successful flex fuel road map implementation in India,” Atsushi Ogata, President, Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director, HMSI, said at the International Conference on Biofuels organised by Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM).

The Japanese two-wheeler subsidiary said that while the company remains aligned to the government vision, certain challenges related to fuel supply and price need to be addressed.

Stable supply, stable price

“To derive the many advantages of biofuels, it is important to have a clear, consistent, and stable policy. Stable supply with stable price — that is the challenge we perceive from the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) side. Also, we need to invest additionally for the flex fuel, which also means additional cost for the consumer,” he said.

Foremost concerns

Elaborating on some challenges regarding flex fuel engines, Ogata listed stable supply of high quality ethanol as one of the foremost concerns for the domestic auto industry. Citing Brazil’s case, he noted that the government there gave incentives to promote flex fuel vehicles. Similarly, some incentives in terms of taxation would encouragethe alternate fuel strategy to kick off in India too, Ogata said.

Ethanol blending

India has postponed the target date for achieving 20 per cent ethanol-blending in petrol by five years to 2025. The government ultimately expects the automobile industry to move towards flex-fuel engines after crossing the 20 per cent ethanol-blending milestone.

Ethanol extracted from sugarcane as well as damaged food grains such as wheat and broken rice and agriculture waste is less polluting, and its use also provides farmers with an alternative source of income.

Saving billions a year

India is the world’s third-biggest oil importer, relying on foreign suppliers to meet over 85 per cent of its demand. Achieving E20 blending with petrol by 2025 will help India save foreign exchange by about ₹30,000 crore per annum while also curbing air pollution.

“Through SIAM, I am happy to note that the Indian automotive industry is working closely with the government as we transition to sustainable transportation through implementation of stringent emission standards and increased emphasis on alternate fuels. Biofuels like ethanol offer a pathway towards a sustainable future which includes clean air and less dependence on imported oil, thereby supporting a more Aatmanirbhar Bharat,” Vinod Aggarwal, President, SIAM and CEO and MD, Volvo Eicher Commercial Vehicles, said.