As India has decided to leapfrog to BS VI emission norms by 2020, vehicle manufacturers, particularly commercial vehicle OEMs, are already gearing up to be compliant before the regulatory changes kick in. Their green initiative was reflected in the many alternate fuel-powered products showcased at the Auto Expo. While there was no wow quotient in terms of really spectacular products, companies have tried to bring in newer and advanced technologies in their offerings.
TATA MOTORS’ ELECTRIC CHARGE
Tata Motors under the theme of ‘Create, Connect and Care’ focuses on its brand value. Underlining its commitment towards greener and cleaner vehicles and displaying its technological capabilities, the company displayed its first full electric bus developed in-house, the Ultra Electric.
“We are able to do this because the government is providing some subsidies but for an operator to see commercial viability, a number of issues need to be addressed. We have the technological capabilities and we are showcasing them here,” said R Ramakrishnan, senior vice-president, Commercial Vehicles, Product Strategy and Planning and Customer Value Creation.
The company also revealed the Starbus Hybrid, a BS VI, commercially ready CNG hybrid bus using electric and CNG modes as fuel. On the small commercial vehicle side, there was the Magic Iris Ziva concept which is a gearless, clutchless vehicle with futuristic hydrogen fuel cell technology for zero emissions.
Betting big on all-new Signa range of M&HCVs
Another highlight was Tata Motors unveiling its all-new Signa range of M&HCVs.
The new Signa trucks will replace the existing range of mass market products and will roll out over the next 12 months. At the expo, there were three variants from the Signa range – the Signa 4923.S tractor, the Signa 3118.T multi-axle truck and the Signa 2518.K tipper. The range will extend to other segments as the company introduces more products in various configurations.
Unlike the traditional mass market products which see a cowl body in the haulage segment, Signa will have a newly designed cabin with proven Tata Motors aggregates aimed at delivering a world-class trucking experience.
Importantly, Signa also tries to address driver concerns with improved standard cabins, better ergonomics, and completely redone interiors. “We have taken all the steps to take care of the driver, both while driving as well as when he is resting,” says Ramakrishnan.
With its smartly designed cabin space, improved ergonomics and NVH levels, the Signa range of cabins is built to offer a superior in-cab experience, enabling drivers to operate fatigue-free over long hauls, which in turn offers significant improvement in productivity. With an inbuilt telematics system, by Tata Fleetman, the new Signa range empowers fleet operators with a more connected experience to better manage their transport business through optimum driver, vehicle and fuel management.
ASHOK LEYLAND’S HYBRID MISSION
Ashok Leyland showcased its first non-plug-in hybrid bus called Hybus claimed to offer major operating cost benefits. Focused on urban transport application with start-stop cycles, ultracapacitors provide the diesel motor the necessary power for movement. “This is a completely in-house development with less than 10 percent imported content. Unlike pure electric which we displayed last year, hybrid buses are relevant for India. Hybus is safe, cost effective and offers an over 20 percent improvement in fuel technology. It is the right product for a city like Delhi,” says T Venkataraman, senior vice-president – buses, Ashok Leyland.
Demonstrating its commitment to the Make-In-India campaign, Ashok Leyland unveiled its first indigenously developed Euro 6-compliant truck – the 4940 – indicating it is ready for India’s imminent greener future in 2020. This is a complete in-house development carried out by the local R&D team. Euro 6 norms demand a dramatic reduction in NOx and particulate matter. Achieving these norms require high lead in technological capabilities. The company says its 4940 trucks use Indian innovation to offer world-class norms at Indian costs.
Dr N Saravanan, senior vice-president, Product Development, Ashok Leyland, while elaborating on the importance of this in-house development, says: “As an Indian CV maker, we are capable of developing next-generation technologies required to meet emission levels. This is the start of a long journey but we are on the right track as to where we want to be for Euro 6 vehicles.”