Citroen Evaluating CNG For Its India Line-Up

Citroen is evaluating introducing a bi-fuel petrol-CNG option for the C3, given the family hatch’s popularity with fleet operators and budget-conscious personal vehicle buyers.

By Girish Karkera


1 mins read


Published on May 18, 2024

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  • Sees potential in the cheaper, greener fuel
  • Likely to look at its entry level C3 hatch to be the first recipient
  • Move also aimed to offer more options within current range

As carmakers evaluate battery electric vehicles (BEVs) and other alternative clean mobility technologies for the future, the slower-than-expected progress for BEVs in many markets due to fledgling charging infrastructure and long-term feasibility is now prompting them to look at other intermediate alternatives. While strong hybrids are a suitable but expensive alternative, Citroen which already has a full EV in its portfolio is now eyeing CNG as an alternative fuel. Currently, all mass makers of note are offering CNG-powered ICE vehicles. These include Maruti Suzuki, Hyundai, Toyota and Tata and looks like Citroen will join the ranks soon.


Also Read: Citroen Expects India To Become Its Second Largest Market In 5 Years


Citroen C3 Aircross 10


The CNG market has shown a rapid rise thanks to the decline in diesel sales. Ever since the Delhi government came down strongly on diesel-powered cars in the wake of the high pollution levels in the city a few years ago, followed by stricter emission norms from the central ministry, Indian car buyers seem to have become doubly vary in buying diesel. Manufacturers like Renault, Honda and most importantly Maruti Suzuki have given up on oil burners, instead focusing on petrol. This has however created a void for those who bought diesel cars purely for its efficiency and lower running costs. While introduced as an alternative cleaner and cheaper fuel some time ago, CNG has now become a go-to fuel for such car buyers. Especially those who have a lot of running. 


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Tata Altroz i CNG 10


Although there has been a rise in CNG costs over the last few years, running a CNG car is still around 30-40 per cent cheaper to run than an equivalent petrol car. This and more models being added by market leaders such as Maruti Suzuki, Hyundai and Tata have spurred buyers to look at this alternative, cleaner fuel even though it comes at the cost of outright vehicle performance.


Citroen’s current range of cars is being positioned as an alternative to the usual suspects in the mass segment. All the C-Cubed-based vehicles of its current portfolio collectively sing the value for money song. And it thus makes sense to broaden the brand’s reach with the introduction of CNG in its range as it requires almost no changes to the powertrain. The bigger challenge is packaging the cylinder but even their smallest C3 is a relatively bigger hatch than the competition.


Also Read: car&bike Awards 2024: Citroen eC3 Wins Viewers' Choice Electric Car Of The Year


Citroen C3 2024 2


Citroen is evaluating introducing a bi-fuel petrol-CNG, as is the norm, in the C3. Not surprising given the family hatch’s popularity with fleet operators and budget-conscious personal vehicle owners it will make sense to start with it. Given the price sensitivity of buyers in the CNG segment, it is unlikely Citroen will introduce it with the more powerful turbo variant of the car. Safe to say then that Citroen may not take the ambitious Tata route to introduce an automatic gearbox version either.


While CNG is mostly found in urban centres of India, the longest CNG corridor currently is an 800km stretch between Delhi and Uttar Pradesh. According to estimates, there are just over 6000 CNG stations in the country with Gujarat being the state with the highest. The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways is trying to triple India's CNG fuel stations network by 2030. Currently, there are roughly over 80,000 petrol pumps in India. Car companies like Maruti Suzuki also offer the option of locating CNG pumps on their app. With the government standing behind the alternative cleaner fuel, it won’t be a surprise to see Citroen, which has a substantial India push up its sleeve, joining this bandwagon.

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