Future Automotive Powertrains for India: Methanol Versus Electric Vehicles

  • Hardikk Valera
  • Avinash Kumar AgarwalEmail author
Part of the Energy, Environment, and Sustainability book series (ENENSU)


Oil and gas demands in India are growing at an alarming rate and gap between demand and supply has emerged as a great concern for the country’s economy. Globally, petroleum reserves are depleting rapidly, and may not sustain beyond 2050. Therefore, finding alternative, renewable and eco-friendly fuels is an absolute need for the age, not only due to petroleum resource scarcity but also due to adverse impact of combustion generated emissions on human health and environment. Electric vehicles (EVs) are emerging into the transport sector globally as well as in India because apparently they are marketed to be producing zero tailpipe emissions. EVs are also expected to reduce dependence on imported petroleum fuels, if electricity is produced from indigenous energy resources or from renewable resources. However, there are several critical issues associated with EVs such as storage batteries, driving range, total weight of the vehicle, lack of recharging facilities, and their high costs. On the other hand, fuels derived from stray carbon in waste biomass, municipal solid waste (MSW) or low grade high ash coal are considered to be superior alternative fuels for transport sector. Among different alternative fuels, methanol has been given greater attention in recent times. Methanol fuelled vehicles (MFV) are quite practical, economical and eco-friendly and can contribute significantly to the transport sector. Methanol fuelled vehicles have higher power density, comparable cost-benefit ratio, and relatively cleaner emission spectra compared to conventional petroleum fuelled vehicles. In this chapter, possible strategies to adopt methanol in existing IC engines are discussed and current national and global status of methanol fuelled vehicles is presented. Next section discusses different types of EVs and their current national and global status, including their historical evolution and risks involved in their mass penetration. The reasons why MFV are a reliable future option for Indian transport sector on a large scale, while EVs seem impractical for large scale implementations are also discussed at length.


Methanol fuelled vehicles Electric vehicles Coal Battery IC engines Emissions Transport sector 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Engine Research Laboratory, Department of Mechanical EngineeringIndian Institute of Technology KanpurKanpurIndia

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