Bajaj's new CNG bike set to slash running costs by 50 per cent!

We eke out some information about Bajaj’s upcoming CNG motorcycle from Rakesh Sharma, executive director, Bajaj Auto India Ltd, before its official unveil
Bajaj's new CNG bike set to slash running costs by 50 per cent!

In about a month's time, the veils will come off Bajaj's highly anticipated CNG motorcycle and we've got some very interesting information about the bike from Rakesh Sharma who's the executive director at Bajaj Auto Ltd. The Ed Sirish Chandran and our Editor-at-large Adil Jal Darukhanawala, were recently joined by Rakesh for a podcast on the forthcoming CNG-propelled bike (You can watch on the evo India YouTube channel) to understand how and why it has come into fruition. Here's everything that Rakesh told us, ahead of the official unveiling of the bike that's scheduled for July 17, 2024.

Codenamed the ‘Bruzer’ (let's address it with its codename till we know its official name), this CNG motorcycle has been developed over the last three years and it's a brand-new ground up project. Meaning it won't be based on any existing Bajaj products like the Discover or the Pulsar. The motorcycle is engineered to have bi-fuel capabilities. It will have both a CNG as well as an auxiliary petrol tank if the rider wishes to switch to good ‘ol dino juice for propulsion.

The Bruzer is going to be targeted at buyers who are economy-conscious, in both rural and urban areas. With this bike the brand is looking to cut fuel expenses by up to 50 per cent, a staggering claim, that should alleviate the stress of rising fuel costs. Going by the fact that Bajaj always hits a nail on the head when it comes to pricing their bikes, the Bruzer will also be very competitively priced in comparison to an equivalent pure petrol-powered motorcycle. “About 50 per cent of Indians make about ₹30,000 - ₹35,000 per month and transport is one of their main expenses. So a CNG bike, which will almost cut their two-wheeled travel expenses by 50 per cent is definitely going to be a strong and a highly attractive proposition,” says Rakesh.

But why has the brand decided to pioneer the mass-production CNG bike? The answer is simple — because of its success in the three-wheeler CNG space! After rolling out its first CNG three-wheeler in 2001, Bajaj has now become the market leader in this arena. Now, it plans to replicate that success in two-wheelers, with the Bruzer and it's CNG siblings. Yes, Rakesh has also confirmed that the Bruzer won't be a one-off, but it will also spawn more CNG products.

The brand is also betting on CNG because the last two decades have seen an immense growth in its popularity, because of its affordability. Unlike petrol or diesel, up to 60 per cent of CNG is domestically sourced and that makes it more economical than the other two. Moreover, the Indian government is also planning to double the amount of CNG pumps by 2026 which will make it even more accessible than ever before.

On the engineering front, the Bruzer has gone through three times the amount of stress-testing, in comparison to a standard petrol-only bike. Rakesh claims that its engine has received thorough R&D because the mapping on a CNG bike has to be different for both fuels, due to a difference in their calorific values, and the rider has to have a seamless experience in switching between petrol and CNG power. This means extra engineering for the fueling system, considerable changes to accommodate the tank that will house the CNG, ensuring acceptable levels of NVH and the herculean challenge is to accomplish all of this without messing with the riding experience that a traditional bike would offer.

That being said, Rakesh also says that the economically-conscious buyer should enjoy the pride of owning this motorcycle and to that end he tells us that both of Bajaj’s foreign development / design centers have worked hard to make it aesthetically pleasing.

Bajaj is one of the largest exporters for two-wheelers and on the basis that very fact, all products are developed with the intention of export. The Bruzer is no different. Initially, Rakesh tells us that as many as half a dozen countries, that already have the CNG infrastructure in place, could start getting the Bruzer soon after its Indian launch. But these details remain to be confirmed.

The country's first mass production bike will see the light of day soon, and we can't wait to test and see if it performs like advertised. In the meanwhile, do watch the entire podcast to see and hear everything that Rakesh has to say about the upcoming bike which should disrupt the commuter segment.

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