- Environmental Imperatives
- Safety Requirements
- Competitive Pressures
- Customer Expectations
There is a strong interlinkage amongst all these forces of change influencing the automobile industry. These have to be addressed consistently and strategically to ensure competitiveness.
Since pollution is caused by various sources, it requires an integrated and multidisciplinary approach. The different sources of pollution have to be addressed in an integerated approach to acheive the objective of cleaner environment and meet National Air Quality standards.
The parameters determining emission from vehicles are:
- Vehicular Technology
- Fuel Quality
- Inspection & Maintenance of In-Use Vehicles
- Road and Traffic Management
While each one of the four factors mentioned above have direct environmental implications, the vehicle and fuel systems have to be addressed as a whole as requiste fuel quality is required to meet the emission standards.
In India, vehicle technolgy has evolved to meet the emission and safety regulations notified as per the Auto Fuel Policy specifing the emission road map and safety regulations as per the Safety Road map adopted by the CMVR-TSC, respectively. Today the vehicle technolgy in India is at par with the international bench marks as Indian safety standards are being alligned with Global Technical Regulations (GTR) and UN Regulations. India is a signatory to UN WP 29 1998 agreement which develops GTRs. India actively particiates in the UN WP 29 body and contributes significantly so that the GTR reflect the driving conditions and requirements of the developing countries.
History of Emission Norms in India
Vehicles are one of the contributors to air pollution and there is need to reduce vehicular emissions on a continous basis. Indian Automotive Industry recognises this fact and is continuously working towards controlling emissions as per the roadmap suggested by the Auto Fuel Policy and proactively developing environment-friendly technologies. India today has some of the most fuel efficient vehicles in the world.
The first stage of mass emission norms came into force for petrol vehicles in 1991 and in 1992 for diesel vehicles.
From April 1995, mandatory fitment of catalytic converters in new petrol passenger cars sold in the four metros, Delhi, Calcutta, Mumbai and Chennai along with supply of Unleaded Petrol (ULP) was affected. Availability of ULP was further extended to 42 major cities; and it is now available throughout the country.
In the year 2000, passenger cars and commercial vehicles met Euro I equivalent India 2000 norms, while two wheelers were meeting one of the tightest emission norms in the world.
Euro II equivalent Bharat Stage II norms were in force 2001 onwards in Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata.
The first Auto Fuel Policy was announced in August 2002 which layed down the Emission and Fuel Roadmap upto 2010. As was given in the roadmap, four-wheeled vehicles moved to Bharat Stage III emission norms in 13 metro cities from April 2005 and rest of the country moved to Bharat Stage II norms.
Bharat Stage IV for 13 Metro cities was implemented April 2010 onwards and the rest of the country moved to Bharat Stage III. Bharat stage IV norms were extended to additonal 20 cities October 2014 onwards.
The Auto Fuel Policy 2025 was submitted to the Minstry of Petroleum & Natural Gas (MoP&NG) which had constituted an expert committe for the formulation of the same in December 2013. The document is currently hosted at the MoP&NG's website. This policy document laid down the emission and fuel road map upto 2025.
The proposed road map envisaged implementation of BS IV norms across the country by April 2017 in a phased manner and BS V emission norms in 2020/2021 and BS VI from 2024.
However, the Delhi, NCR region of North India became notorious for its drastic rise in air pollution levels. This attracted attention and subsquently led to the government making a conscious decision of leapfrogging Bharat Stage V emission norms that were subject to implementation in 2020, as well as advancing introduction of Bharat Stage VI emission norms from 2024 to 2020.
Since India embarked on a formal emission control regime only in 1991, a gap in implementaion of these norms in comparison to Europe can be noticed. However, this gap has helped in the technologies to mature which in turn faciltated the Indian Auto sector in meeting the regulations at an affordable cost for the Indian consumers.
In India we are yet to address the vehicle and fuel system as a whole. It was in 1996 that the Ministry of Environment and Forests formally notified fuel specifications. Maximum limit for critical ingredients such as benzene level in petrol has been reduced continuously, from time to time, and was specified as 5% m/m and 3% m/m pa India and metroes, respectively. This limit now stands at 1%, which in line with international practices.
To address the high pollution in metro cities, 0.05% sulphur for petrol and diesel has been introduced since 2000-2001. The same has been reduced to 0.005% in April 2010 in 13 metro cities for both petrol and diesel. 350 and 150 ppm for diesel and petrol, respectively, in rest of the country, the limit on sulphur content for petrol and diesel is 150ppm and 350ppm, respectively. This content would be reduced further to 10 ppm in BS V and BS VI fuels in line with Auto Fuel Policy 2025. There is a need completely align the fuel properties with Europeon fuel quality so that vehicles can meet BS VI emission norms and also the durability requirement.
Inspection & Maintenance (I&M) of In-use Vehicles
It has been estimated that at any point of time, new vehicles comprise only 8% of the total vehicle population. In India, currently only transport vehicles, that is, vehicles used for hire or reward are required to undergo periodic fitness certification. The large population of personalised vehicles are not yet covered by any such mandatory requirement.
In most countries that have been able to control vehicular pollution to a substantial extent, Inspection & Maintenance (I&M) of all categories of vehicles has been one of the chief tools used. Developing countries in the South-East Asian region, which till a few years back had severe air pollution problems, have introduced an I&M system and an effective traffic management plan.
Road & Traffic Management
Inadequate and poor quality of road surface leads to increased vehicle operation costs, thereby increased pollution. It has been estimated that improvements in roads will result in savings of about 15% of vehicle operation costs.
The need for an integrated holistic approach for controlling vehicular emissions cannot be over-emphasised. More importantly, the auto and oil industries need to come together for evolving fuel quality standards and vehicular technology to meet the air quality targets.