Much before he became the first citizen of India, Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam was a renowned scientist who was instrumental in getting India her weapons of peace – nuclear missiles. Known to be ‘big picture’ man Dr. Kalam was a seeker, a man who seeked to leverage science to solve many of the world’s problems.
Transportation is one of modern life’s biggest challenges and Dr. Kalam has a few words of advice for the Indian automotive industry. Just as the man’s funeral is taking place in his hometown Rameswaram, here’s a wrap of 5 things Dr. Kalam wante the Indian auto industry to focus on.
Invest more in technology
As a keen technologist himself, Dr. Kalam knew the way technology could revolutionize life and solve seemingly inpossible problems. In most speeches that he gave the auto industry, a big investment in technology was a point that India’s most popular president frequently raised. India is still a few years away from the developed west when it comes to automotive technology, and this is a bridge that Dr. Kalam wanted Indian car makers such as Tata Motors and Mahindra to rapidly cross.
Quit fossil fuels
Fossil fuels are on their way to extinction. Foreseeing this, President Kalam was seen urging manufacturers to reduce their dependence on fossil fuels, both for propelling vehicles and for powering factories. The high cost of fossil fuel import and the burden that it put on India’s economy was a point around which Dr. Kalam frequently rallied.
Focus on hybrids
Hybrid cars were a solution that Dr. Kalam frequently suggested, as a means to reduce India’s dependence on expensive fossil fuels such as petrol and diesel. The former president of India’s dream will be realized in the coming years as Mahindra, Tata Motors and Maruti Suzuki are three major automakers betting big on hybrid cars and commercial vehicles for the Indian car market.
Focus on leveraging hydrogen and ethanol to propel cars
Hydrogen fuel cells and ethanol were two other fuels that Dr. Kalam seeked to propagate through his lectures. While hydrogen fuel cell technology is yet to be adopted in a big way by the automotive industry, top automakers such as Toyota and BMW are investing time and money to work on fuel cell based cars. Ethanol as a fuel for cars is currently blended with petrol in Brazil.
Advanced materials will be the key to solving future transportation challenges
A space scientist by vocation for much of his working life, Dr. Kalam was a major advocate of the usage of advanced composites such as carbon fiber. Composites reduce the weight of a car, and also the dependence on traditional materials such as steel and aluminium. A lower weight means better fuel efficiency. Also, advanced composites have the potential to put recycled materials to good use, and this can be an effective waste management tool as well.