BS-VI: Disruption is an opportunity

Government’s idea to leapfrog the emission norms from BS IV to VI is a landmark decision, however, challenges remain, especially with respect to paucity of time. We spoke to Mr. Sudipto Basu, Executive Director at Emissions Control Manufacturers Association (ECMA), on challenges and opportunities associated with BS VI, its impact on various stakeholders and industry readiness.

1. What challenges and opportunities do you foresee with BSVI round the corner?

Mr. Sudipto Basu: We should start first with the opportunities. For stakeholders in pollution control either by aftertreatment or even otherwise, such as engine management and in-cylinder technologies, the need to reduce both Particulates and Oxides of Nitrogen simultaneously brings into focus the need for new or more advanced technologies to be introduced.
Specifically, for the exhaust aftertreatment industry, sophisticated equipment and hitherto less used technologies such as DPF, SCR and Ammonia Slip Catalysts along with the associated components and packaging will bring in huge opportunities for supplying a growing market that will look for cleaner environment.
This will also pose challenges, as with any new technology, users need to understand the proper application and servicing of these. Infrastructure, such as AF32 dispensing stations and trained personnel, need to be available across the length and breath of the country to ensure that equipment run the way they are supposed to.
ECMA and our member companies shall spare no effort to ensure that OEM have all the information and assistance available to them, to impart to service personnel.
In terms of getting the new applications to market, the need for a very large number of application and development tests and hence, test infrastructure and facilities for BS VI testing can be a limitation. Durability testing, considering that ageing cycles suitable for Indian drive conditions, may not be readily available will require time.

2. Is the Government’s idea to leapfrog the emission norms, a good one?

Mr. Sudipto Basu: Yes, a good idea however, considering the large change in technologies vis-à-vis the available infrastructure required for development, the jump could have been over a longer period, of time.

While new vehicles usher in clean-exhaust, there should be a plan for retrofitting older vehicles with appropriate aftertreatment, so that the huge number of such vehicles do not slow down the main purpose of achieving clean-air, as envisaged with this change

It is important to ensure that new vehicles are less polluting, it is perhaps more important to ensure that vehicles already on the road are properly maintained and so, a mandatory Inspection and Maintenance program needs to be in place that monitors the health of on-road vehicles.

3. How is the industry gearing up to meet the emission norms? Are we on the right track in terms of the on-ground progress and timelines?

Mr. Sudipto Basu: Generally yes, all OEM are working very hard to meet the timelines and engineers are under pressure to produce results in time.

The targets set are challenging however with the co-operation of ECMA members and OEM as well as the efforts made by govt to provide fuel and fluids such as AF32 it is hoped that implementation should be achieved in time.

4. Which emission control technologies do you feel will take the lead in BS VI implementation?

Mr. Sudipto Basu: For Commercial Vehicles DOC, DPF, SCR and ASC will be the way to go. However, even in this, there are a large number of permutations and combinations possible, depending on the type of application. These combinations are influenced by the application and also, OEM need to focus on the most appropriate technologies at the best cost and this means, that multiple options (from the technology perspective) have to be tested which adds to development time and costs.

Ultimately the OEM will have to take a call on which technology to take to market, based on the application, their product range and the time and cost of development as well as the cost of the finished product.

5. Lastly, it would be great if you could let us know what excites you to be a part of the upcoming Commercial Vehicle Forum 2018 (taking place on 26 April 2018 at The Westin – Pune)?

Mr. Sudipto Basu: The jump from BS IV to VI is a landmark decision, bringing into focus the aftertreatment capabilities of ECMA member companies and hence, the opportunity to be present at such a forum and be available to represent ECMA views and interact with the leaders in the HD industry, is a huge attraction!