Back in March, Bajaj Auto Limited, one of the world’s biggest motorcycle manufacturers, announced that it was getting ready to launch the world’s first CNG-powered motorcycle. Back then, we didn’t know what type of motorcycle Bajaj had in the pipeline.

But now it seems that the bike is ready to enter production.

Bajaj has even gone as far as to pen a launch date for the bike: June 18, 2024. Indian media speculates that the new model will be called the Bajaj Bruzer, and will be targeted towards commuters looking for an affordable and efficient commuter.

Here’s what we know about the world’s first CNG-powered motorcycle so far.

 

Given the fact that Bajaj has designed this thing for maximum versatility, it's clear to see why the company opted for a standard/naked configuration. It gets an upright riding position and a one-piece, two-seater saddle ideal for both carrying cargo and a passenger. Although spotted in heavy camo, it’s easy to see that the upcoming Bruzer—if it’ll really be called that—borrows some styling and design cues from Bajaj’s Pulsar range of naked bikes.

Performance-wise, the model is expected to be in the 125cc segment of commuter bikes, but we don’t know just yet exactly how much power and torque this thing is packing. It does, however, appear to be rocking an air-cooled engine due to the lack of a radiator in the spy video. And so it’s safe to assume a power figure of about 10 horsepower.

With all that being said, it’s by no means in the performance and features department that the Bruzer seeks to make a mark. As mentioned earlier, the bike is designed to be as cost-effective as possible, and it's in its fuel system that the Bruzer hopes to achieve this.

CNG vehicles work similarly to that of gasoline-powered ICE vehicles. But the difference lies in the fuel. Here, natural gas—consisting mostly of methane—is compressed and stored in a tank. Said compressed gas is then fed into the engine where it mixes with air and combusts to produce power.

The main benefit here is cost, as there are many reasons why CNG is much more affordable than gasoline. For starters, a lot of it is produced domestically in India, as opposed to gasoline which is imported from other markets.

According to Bajaj, the use of CNG has the potential to reduce costs to end-users by up to 65 percent. But the benefits don't end there. The company is also claiming quite a lot of environmental benefits. The company claims up to a 50-percent reduction in CO2 emissions, a 75-percent reduction in carbon monoxide emissions, and a near-90-percent reduction in non-methane hydrocarbons.

Best of all, Bajaj hopes to make the Bruzer extremely accessible to India’s masses. The price tag? An estimated 80,000 to 90,000 rupees, or somewhere within the ballpark of $900 to $1,000. Talk about affordable personal mobility.

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It's worth noting, however, that CNG has a lower energy density than gasoline. The science journal Science Direct explains that a gallon of gasoline has the same energy content as 5.75 gallons of CNG pressurized at 2,400 PSI. And so, CNG-powered vehicles need to have larger fuel tanks to cover the same distance as their diesel- and gasoline-powered counterparts—something that's clear to see in the spy footage of the upcoming Bajaj Bruzer. 

A CNG-powered two-wheeler is certainly an interesting concept, especially in the context of the Western world. However, in extremely price-sensitive markets like India and some other parts of Asia, it can make a world of a difference among communities and families trying to make their resources go as far as possible.

In an era where it seems that we’ve pushed the internal combustion engine to be as powerful and efficient as possible, could it be that CNG holds the key to even more advancement—especially when it comes to cutting costs?

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