Air pollution levels in India are rising courtesy the rising number of vehicles on roads here. Majority of the vehicles on sale in the country are still BS3 (Bharat Stage 3) compliant and the BS4 norms have not been implemented across the entire nation yet. On account of this delay and with a smoother transition to the BS5 emission norms in mind, the same have been delayed to 2021. Meanwhile, India will hop on to BS4+ norms by 2016, a stop gap measure in the continuous effort to improve air quality.
India was due for a BS5 emission norms transition in 2015 and BS6 in 2017, but these timelines seem like a far-fetched dream now. Having different norms for different places in the country accounts for a logistical problem for vehicle manufacturers. To streamline the existing state of affairs, the BS4+ transition will be for the entire country, This move will help manufacturers produce uniform vehicles instead of the splitting vehicles (BS3 and BS4) to cater to different markets in India.
A salient feature of the new BS4+ emission norms concern the sulphur levels. While BS3 norms allow for a sulphur level of 350 PPM (parts per million) whereas the BS4+ norms will result in a drop in sulphur levels to 40 PPM with BS5 ushering in a further drop to 10 PPM. While vehicle manufacturers would be ready for the new emission norms in the country as they already have the technology to produce cleaner vehicles,the BS5 norms could prove to be a big roadblock for petroleum companies. The oil companies which will need to invest about Rs 75,000 crores in order to upgrade their fuel quality to lower sulphur levels. This investment is likely to impact fuel prices.
Tighter emissions could lead to a rise in vehicle prices but lower costs of ownership as the newer crop of low emission engines are likely to bring in higher fuel efficiency. Manufacturers are expected to reduce the displacement figures of engines with the new norms coming into effect without reducing the power outputs by adding turbochargers. Therefore, expect more turbocharged engines making their way to the cars you and me buy. Ford’s Ecoboost line of engines, Tata Motors’ Revotron engine, VW’s TSI motors and the likes are bound to see a rise in popularity and will be plonked into more vehicles.