Motorcycles

World's first dual-fuel CNG motorcycle cuts fuel costs in half

World's first dual-fuel CNG motorcycle cuts fuel costs in half
The Freedom 125 - built from the ground up to run a dual fuel CNG powertrain
The Freedom 125 - built from the ground up to run a dual fuel CNG powertrain
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The Freedom 125 - built from the ground up to run a dual fuel CNG powertrain
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The Freedom 125 - built from the ground up to run a dual fuel CNG powertrain
Around 330 km of range from 2 kg of CNG and 2 liters of get-home gasoline
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Around 330 km of range from 2 kg of CNG and 2 liters of get-home gasoline

A fascinating new type of motorcycle has finally hit the road. The Bajaj Freedom 125 sells for less than US$1,150, and it's the first bike to offer a 2-kg Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) tank alongside a 2-liter petrol tank for cheaper, cleaner riding.

It looks a little like the old Honda Grom, and it's pitched very much at daily commuters on the crazy roads of India, but the Freedom 125's dual fuel setup gives it an impressive 330 km (205 miles) of range. Two-thirds of that is from the gas cylinder under the seat; the gasoline tank is really more of a 'limp home' option where gas isn't available. But riders can switch back and forth between the two fuel sources using a button on the left switchblock.

Why CNG? Well, it's significantly cheaper. Bajaj says running the Freedom 125 on CNG should cut fuel costs by around half, albeit with a small hit to its sub-10 horsepower performance that reduces top speed from 93.4 km/h (58 mph) to 90.5 km/h (56.2 mph). So while it may take a while for riders to recoup the US$100-odd difference between the Freedom and, say, a Bajaj Pulsar 125 that runs purely on gasoline, beyond that, they're laughing.

CNG is cleaner, too, emitting significantly less CO2, unburned hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, sulfur oxides and particulates than petrol over an equivalent distance – and it helps oils last longer, too, since it doesn't contaminate and dilute them.

Around 330 km of range from 2 kg of CNG and 2 liters of get-home gasoline
Around 330 km of range from 2 kg of CNG and 2 liters of get-home gasoline

On the other hand, it's highly compressed, to about 1% of the volume it occupies in open air, so riders will have a metal cylinder between their legs pressurized at somewhere over 3,000 psi. The trellis frame is designed to offer some protection here, and here's some frontal crash test and truck rollover footage, in case that makes you feel any better.

Bajaj Freedom 125 Cng Crash Test - Cylinder फटा तो ? Bajaj Cng bike crash test !!

Otherwise, well, it's a commutey-scootey kind of a bike running 16-inch wheels, simple suspension, an LCD dash and drum brakes front and rear – although you can upgrade and get a Bluetooth equipped dash, a disc front brake and an LED headlight if you're feeling fancy.

It'll be interesting to see how Indian riders get on with this thing, and whether the low running costs prove a compelling enough selling point to drive widespread adoption. It's been a long while coming, but the CNG motorcycle does seem like it could be better both for riders and the planet than standard petrol bikes, particularly where longer range is needed.

It won't be as good as fully electric rides like the Ola S1, though – and the Freedom 125 doesn't have cost on its side there. The S1X+ comes in about US$100 cheaper, even with its extended battery, and delivers around 151 km (94 miles) of range at around the same top speed – with the addition of 34 liters of storage space, cruise control and a bunch of smart digital features including turn-by-turn navigation.

So for riders that can deal with the shorter range, there's already a cheaper, cleaner option.

Source: Bajaj

3 comments
3 comments
Gannet
now wondering how big the 2kg CNG can is, and how big it could be made without the petrol. Put it inside a big tube backbone frame like an Egli?
Karmudjun
GIves a new meaning to crotch rocket, doesn't it?
ljaques
@Karmudjun, more like crotch walker at sub-10hp.