Why the Bajaj Freedom 125 doesn’t have a bigger CNG tank

    The world’s first CNG bike has a tank that can hold 2 kilos of gas.

    Published On Jul 10, 2024 03:05:00 PM

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    Bajaj Freedom 125, Bajaj CNG Bike, fresh details, pricing, range, mileage, tank capacity
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    The new Bajaj Freedom CNG bike features a 125cc engine that can be powered by either petrol or CNG. It comes with a 2-litre petrol tank and a 2-kilogram CNG cylinder. Bajaj claims a total range of about 330km, and 102km per kg when the bike is running on CNG.

    We've been asked frequently why Bajaj couldn't provide larger tanks for this bike. Regarding the petrol tank, Bajaj designed it primarily as a backup in case the rider cannot reach a CNG pump in time. The company believes that 2 litres are adequate, given the claimed petrol efficiency of 65kpl.

    But, when it comes to the CNG tank, the complication comes down to two things: weight and cost. When empty, it weighs 16kg and approximately 18kg when full, similar to the weight of Pulsar's petrol tank when full. Abraham Joseph, formerly Bajaj Auto's Chief Technical Officer and now MD at Chetak Technologies, explains that the company had to be extremely careful with the dynamics of the motorcycle to ensure that it feels natural and easy to ride.
     
    Bajaj Freedom 125's CNG tank which is located under the rider seat.

    This was the compromise that the company deemed the most appropriate and Bajaj says that a bigger, heavier tank would have been difficult to package. This makes sense as the Bajaj Freedom already weighs 149kg, which is much higher than any other 125cc commuter.

    Cost is another significant factor. Joseph explains that, similar to EV batteries, the entire CNG system is quite expensive. This cost consideration is crucial for a motorcycle priced below Rs 1 lakh, aiming to be as cost-effective as possible.

    Abraham suggests gas suppliers to increase the amount of pressure at the pump. “The pressure that is dispensed today is in the ballpark of 200 bar. I say ballpark of 200 bar because where it is pipelined, you can get 200 bar, but where it comes by ‘bullets’, it comes down to about 180 bar, or at times even less than that. And this impacts the amount of fuel that you can put inside. We would request GAIL — for example, if they can start dispensing at higher pressures. 'Can you give me 300 Bar, for example? I will put in a tank there which can withstand the pressure and then we will have more range out of the same space'.”  

    Joseph further said that Bajaj will look into other things in the future, like additional lightweighting when the costs come under control. He also mentioned that composite materials can be used in the CNG system in the future.

    Also see: Rajiv Bajaj: We want to return the favour to Hero, Honda with the Freedom
     

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