'It is the need of the hour to relook at the present system of type approval and conformity of production testing.'
Ambuj Sharma, additional secretary, Ministry of Heavy Industry, speaks to Sumantra B Barooah, about the plan to upgrade the testing and approval processes in India and the next course of action regarding the VW emission issue.
Ambuj Sharma, additional secretary, Ministry of Heavy Industry, in an exclusive interview with Sumantra B Barooah, talks about the plan to upgrade the testing and approval processes in India and the next course of action regarding the Volkswagen emission issue.
Does the Volkswagen emission issue warrant a relook at the whole testing procedure in India and upgrade it?
Yes, in many ways. In some ways, it is the need of the hour because the present system of type approval and conformity of production testing is all laboratory based. Whereas in the case of VW, what we are seeing is that the emissions are much higher in on-road in-use vehicles. So, in the Indian system of testing and homologation also there is a need to provide for in-use on-road test measurements also. And there has to be some correlation between the lab and the on-road.
The other thing is it's not a matter of one OEM or the other. It is the entire ecosystem. Everybody has to play according to the rules. So there is a need to provide for testing of range of all players.
When can we expect execution of the plan to test vehicles of all OEMs?
Testing of on-road vehicles of other OEMs would be taken up in due course in the coming months. But to provide in the regulations and the policy framework to have some sort of a mandatory on-road testing also, that would be a thing to be provided in the rules under the Central Motor Vehicle Act and rules. So that amendment procedure of the Act and rules is ongoing. So, we can think of including that.
Talking specifically about Volkswagen, will tests also be carried out on its petrol cars in India since Volkswagen AG has admitted that there's irregularity in their CO2 levels?
This has come to notice yesterday. Definitely we will also take action to see whether it applies in case of India. So far we have tested diesel engines of the EA 189 variety. But if there is a need to look at petrol version, that also can be done.
Now that ARAI has found discrepancy in emission levels of the diesel engine, what could be the action taken?
There is a set of procedure laid down. So, we have issued a notice to them. They would be required to give explanation and technical reasons and inputs which they will give in the prescribed timeframe. Then we will take a balanced call on that to decide whether it violates any rules and regulations and whether there is any malafide, whether any device has been used in this case to show lower readings. And then action will be taken.
In case any manipulating device is found what could be the consequence?
Well, installation of any cheat device in a vehicle is a matter of grave concern. If that is proven, even criminal action is possible. But we are not at that stage. We are going step by step. We have done the testing and found out the variations. We have shared the findings with them and have asked for their explanation. Based on their inputs, we will take a call.
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