India's major automakers, Tata Motors, Bajaj Auto, Mahindra & Mahindra, Ashok Leyland and Eicher Motors, have put aside their rivalry and come together in a project to create an optimal mix of hydrogen and compressed natural gas (CNG). If successful, the fuel mix - referred to as Hithane - will reduce emissions, improve fuel efficiency and work in existing vehicles.
Seven different types of vehicles are being provided by the participants for testing as part of the project which is being undertaken in conjunction with the Indian ministry of New and Renewable Energy. Hithane blends ranging from 10 - 30 percent will be tested in the vehicles which include light commercials, three-wheeler autorickshaws, an SUV and a passenger car.
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Analysis: Air quality is a major problem in India due to the large numbers of older, inefficient and poorly tuned vehicles. A major initiative was undertaken a few years ago when the copious autorickshaws, which are used as cheap taxis, were converted from kerosene burning to CNG burning engines. This hasn't yet led to the removal of restrictions banning petroleum burning vehicles within 500 metres / 546 yards of the Taj Mahal to try and halt its spreading marble cancer due to emissions though.