Indian manufacturer Tata Motors has announced plans to introduce a commercially viable LNG powered bus in the next six months.

Tata is conducting pilot-runs of India’s first liquefied natural gas bus in the capital city of Kerala and hope to roll the bus out in the same state by April if the trials are successful.

“If all goes well, we are planning the commercial launch next April. We are working overtime to get regulatory approvals including those from ARAI,” said Tata Motors engineering head Ajit Jindal.

“We have not signed any agreement with Kerala as yet or any other state. Kerala is keen to place an order for 1,000 buses with us and we have offered to make 100 of those LNG-powered,” he added.

The fully-built buses will be produced at the same plant as its CNG buses.

Jindal said although there is no purchase price advantage of LNG over CNG, the running costs are significantly lower.

“The LNG buses offer a great advantage over CNG variants as the dead weight of a CNG cylinder and that of a cryogenic cylinder is huge apart from very low filling time,” Jindal said.

“With a full tank, an LNG bus can run as much as 700 km in one filling, while a CNG bus can at best deliver just about 200 km per cylinder,” he added.