COLUMN: The Ethanol Problem
- Jul 16, 2019
- Views : 377
TVS has launched an ethanol-powered variant of the Apache RTR 200 4V in India today. Called the Apache RTR 200 Fi E100, it is the first ethanol-powered motorcycle in India. And here’s all you need to know about the bike:
Looks identical to the petrol-powered variant:
Given that the ethanol conversion requires only changes to the engine’s internals, the ethanol-powered bike carries the Apache RTR 200 4V’s bodywork and features like LED DRLs, LED tail lamp and a fully-digital instrument console. The only difference between the ethanol- and petrol-powered variant is the white paint job with lime green graphics and the ‘Ethanol’ decal on the fuel tank.
2. Gets Identical Underpinnings too:
The Apache RTR 200 Fi E100 gets the same split double-cradle frame, telescopic fork and monoshock as the Apache RTR 200 4V. For braking, it uses the same 270mm front and 240mm rear disc. However, where the petrol-powered Apache RTR 200 gets a dual-channel ABS setup, the ethanol-powered Apache RTR 200 Fi E100 gets a single-channel ABS unit.
3. E100 stands for 100 per cent ethanol:
TVS has modified the Apache RTR 200 4V’s fuel-injected motor to run on 100 per cent ethanol, hence the nomenclature. For this, TVS has used a twin-spray, twin-port electronic fuel-injection setup. This setup can also run on a blend of 80 per cent ethanol and 20 per cent petrol. The ethanol-powered motor makes 21PS at 8500rpm and 18.1Nm at 7000rpm which is identical to the fuel-injected Apache RTR 200 4V’s power output. According to TVS, the bike can reach a top speed of 129kmph and offers a fuel efficiency similar to the petrol-powered variant.
4. Benefits of ethanol:
Ethanol is a biofuel, meaning it can be produced using renewable resources. The main products used to prepare ethanol are molasses, sugarcane juice and biomass. This is an environmentally friendly fuel and can be domestically produced too. On burning, it produces less harmful emissions than conventional fuel. Also, the price of ethanol is substantially lower than petrol.
Ethanol has a lot of benefits, chief among them being the low emissions and significantly lower running costs. TVS has priced the Apache RTR 200 Fi E100 at Rs 1.2 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi). At this price, it is just Rs 8,600 more expensive than the carburetted Apache RTR 200 4V ABS. Given the fact that ethanol costs less than 62 per cent the price of petrol, on paper, the Apache RTR 200 Fi should be ridiculously affordable to run. However, the production and distribution of ethanol in India is still at a nascent stage. That raises a serious question on the viability of the ethanol-powered Apache RTR 200 Fi E100 - for now, at least. Also, the motorcycle is only available in Maharashtra, Karnataka and Uttar Pradesh for now.
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