Leapfrog into BSVI: Opportunities & Challenges for the Indian 2W Industry

The leapfrog into BSVI is a revolutionary decision, however, OEMs need to overcome the logistical, testing and calibration challenges while at the same time balancing growth and cost. We spoke to Mr. Jinal Shah – Regional Director South Asia Operations at Power Systems Research, on the challenges and opportunities for the Indian Two Wheeler Industry associated with BS VI.

Q1. There is a lot of debate about advancing emission norms in India. Do you think we have taken the right path with sufficient lead time given to all stakeholders involved?

Mr. Jinal Shah: Two-wheeled vehicles are the largest vehicle class in India, both in terms of current vehicle population, as well new vehicle sales. As such, they represent an important source of pollutant emissions and have a significant impact on air quality, particularly in urban areas of the country.

The short lead time for transition to BSVI is a tall ask but there is no denying the fact that policymakers are increasingly concerned over high levels of vehicular pollution in the major Indian cities. We believe, the OEMs and component suppliers are geared up to meet this timeline.

Q2. What can be the impact of skipping a stage in implementing BSVI norms?

Mr. Jinal Shah: It typically requires four years to graduate from one stage to another to ensure technology developed is fool-proof. The leapfrog will require significant engine technology changes including improvements in engine combustion and calibration, increased injection and cylinder pressures etc. This will call for significant investments and co-ordination across the value chain to ensure smooth transition, as most OEMs have plants spread across the regions which means the BSVI exercise will require careful planning to overcome the logistical, testing and calibration challenges.

Q3. What challenges and opportunities do you foresee in switching to BS VI norms?

Mr. Jinal Shah: India’s two-wheeler production in 2020 could be around 26 million units, even though there will be the predictable headwinds associated with the BS VI regime. The OEMs will have to work hard at keeping costs in check, especially in a price-sensitive market like India with an aim to balance growth and cost challenges.  It may also mean efforts on maximising the production efficiencies to reduce cost increases which will remain the real challenge. We anticipate the prices of two wheelers may increase by 10-20% and it will be interesting to see how the commuter segment is impacted

BS VI will also propel India’s global responsibilities as the competencies gained here will be used to meet the needs of other markets which will inevitably move towards similar emission norms. So, the R&D base here is expected to grow rapidly in the coming years to meet future challenges and as the industry aims to become an export hub going forward.

Q4. Do you think that the real challenge is not to upgrade technology but implementing BSVI norms in the given time frame?

Mr. Jinal Shah: I feel the key challenges towards migrating to the new norms will be the availability of BS-VI compliant fuel across India, adapting the available technologies in line with operating conditions and requirements of the Indian market, cost differential on migration from carburettor to EFI system and vehicle modification cost.

Q5. Which emission control technologies do you feel will take the lead in BS VI implementation when it comes to two wheelers?

Mr. Jinal Shah: The two of the biggest technological changes in two-wheelers will be fuel injection and on-board vehicle diagnostics which are being introduced for the first time in BSVI regulations.

Most of the Indian two-wheelers use carburetors which are cost-effective, but in order to comply with BSVI norms, Electronic Fuel Injection (EFI) needs to be adopted. This is a critical item and localisation would play an important role to control the cost impact on two wheelers going forward into the BSVI era.

Q6. You are part of the BS VI panel discussion at the Two Wheeler Forum (taking place on 30 Aug 2018 at The Leela Gurgaon), can you give us a sneak peek into some of the insights you will be sharing?

Mr. Jinal Shah: The leapfrog into BSVI is a revolutionary decision and hence I am excited to be the part of this discussion and look forward to interacting with industry’s best on the future opportunities and challenges in the 2W industry.