Since India embarked on a formal emission control regime only in 1991, there is a gap in implementation when compared to Europe. However, this has helped technologies to mature and facilitated Indian industry to meet the regulations at an affordable cost for Indian consumers. BS IV fuel is likely to reduce the emissions of carbon monoxide, hydrocarbon, oxides of nitrogen and sulfur, which are a lot less in BS IV fuel compared to BS III fuel.
With BS IV already partially being implemented in NCR and select Indian cities (Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad, Pune, Surat, Kanpur, Lucknow, Sholapur, Jamshedpur, and Agra), truck makers have been ready with their technologies and manufacturing capabilities. April 1, 2017, is when every truck rolling out from assembly lines will have to comply with the new regulation. Market leader Tata Motors, which has the widest product portfolio, has been working on a war footing to get itself ready before BS IV kicks in across the country.
Given the quantum jump in fuel emission technology, the direct impact of this regulatory change is that vehicle prices will increase by 10-12 percent. This is largely because the powertrain will see major changes and truck operators will have to buy AdBlue and urea dose from time to time for maintenance. This will have an impact on the demand cycle of the industry in the short term. It is expected there will be significant pre-buying of CVs which will lead to higher demand in Q4 of FY 2017.
With BS IV vehicles, the cost of M&HCVs can go up between Rs 100,000-Rs 200,000. Usage of SCR (Selective Catalytic Reduction) requires AdBlue to be filled after certain intervals and this will see operating costs rise by up to 2 percent. To avoid this, fleet owners will try to prepone buying in the last quarter of this fiscal year. This may lead to a jump in volume in Q4 FY2017 and a decline in next-year volumes in the range of 10-15 percent.”
In the near-term, aftersales service and maintenance will see higher cost in BS IV-compliant vehicles as the electronics content in them will be higher and the ability of independent mechanics to service such vehicles will drop initially. OEMs have been working on this front to avoid an inefficient customer response in the event of vehicle failure. For example, Tata Motors – along with its engine partner Cummins – has already started intensive training programs in over 1,000 locations across the country to train service technicians of its dealers and service network.
BS IV will facilitate On Board Diagnostics (OBD) on vehicles, which help detect failures that adversely affect emissions and warn the driver about faults. OBD enables diagnosis and repair of complex electronic engine controls, keeps emissions low by early identification of controls that need repair, and is a life-long solution for the vehicle.
Supply chain, ramp-up and aftersales service may still remain a challenge. At Ashok Leyland, we are well prepared for a smooth transition. Fuel availability throughout the country will be a key component and handling electronics will need constant monitoring so that the transition to BS IV is smooth.