Autocar Pro's August 15 issue: How India is conserving water in a time of climate change

by Autocar Pro News Desk , 15 Aug 2019


Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressing the nation from the ramparts of Red Fort, in Delhi today. Photo: PIB

Autocar Professional's August 15's issue cover story resonates with what Prime Minister Narendra Modi said today in his Independence Day speech from the ramparts of the Red Fort. He called upon people to work together to conserve water resources and also harvest rainwater. He stressed upon the need for water conservation and that this critical issue needs to be taken up as a mass movement at the very grassroots level. He called it the Jal Jeevan Mission.

That's just what a number of companies representing India Auto Inc – both vehicle and component manufacturers – are already engaged in. As is known, the auto industry globally is a big consumer of water across various manufacturing and service operations. However, winds of change are blowing across India's many auto hubs, some of whom are facing water scarcity issues. More and more companies are recognising the need to conserve this scarce resource, increase its re-use and also think of innovative measures to cut down its use.

The cover story of the August 15 issue is all about how a clutch of dynamic OEMs and suppliers are stretching the envelope when it comes to saving water. Maruti Suzuki India, with three manufacturing plants and a production capacity of over 2 million units per annum, adheres to its 3R principle – Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. Among a host of sustainable initiatives, Maruti has achieved much success in water conservation – both across manufacturing and the service network. Do you know that the company's per car water consumption is down by over 23% in FY2019 compared to FY2015? Or that its dry wash system used on 6.9 million cars in FY2019 saved 656 million litres of water?

Sustainability and the Tata Group go hand in hand. So it comes as no surprise that Tata Motors walks the green talk when it comes to water conservation at all its plants located at Jamshedpur, Lucknow, Pantnagar, Pune, Sanand and Dharwad. From creating large artificial lakes, process improvements to effluent recycling and setting up expansive green belts around its facilities, the company gives it its all.

Hyundai Motor India too is doing its bit to save every drop of water at its Sriperumbudur plants through water management practices and an elaborate rainwater harvesting system.

Honda Motorcycle & Scooter India, the two-wheeler arm of Honda Motor Corp, with four plants and a total capacity of 6.4 million units is also a firm believer in the 3R principle, like Maruti Suzuki. This company has a robust roadmap of efficient technologies to reduce water consumption. What's more, six of its water-saving initiatives have inspired similar programmes at Honda plants in the Asia and Oceania region!

It is estimated manufacturing a single passenger car takes up to 148,000 litres of water! Imagine the consumption for a truck. Truck and bus maker VE Commercial Vehicles has a number of sustainable manufacturing practices in place at its Pithampur plant, near Indore including at the paint shop, which typically consumes large quantities of water.

Royal Enfield recently announced a major shift to motorcycle dry wash systems across all its 20 service centres in Chennai. The implementation of this system will help save approximately 18 lakhs litres of water every month. Royal Enfield, which has an expansive service network in the country with over 900 workshops across more than 600 towns and cities, plans to expand the water conservation effort.

Component suppliers too are pushing the water conservation effort. Sandhar Technologies, which has 29 manufacturing plants in 8 states in India, says it has achieved much success by installing zero liquid discharge systems and water recycling units to reduce water consumption. The use of re-treated water saw the Sandhar Group save up to 148,800 KL last year.

Then there's French and global major Valeo, for whom environmental protection is an avowed  mantra since years. By employing the catalytic radicalisation process at its plants, Valeo India treats contaminated water and has seen annual savings of over 550,000 litres.

Even a business enterprise like Mahindra World City, which is home to a host of automakers on its 1,500 acre site, has a sharp focus on rainwater harvesting. It meets 100 percent of its landscaping needs through treated water, which is also provided to several companies including BMW India, Lear Automotive India, TVS Group and Force Motors.

How Maruti Suzuki put India on wheels
As India celebrates its 72nd Independence Day, its automotive industry has come a long way and is today a significant driver of macroeconomic growth and technological development. It has an over 7 percent share in India's GDP and a 49 percent share of the manufacturing GDP. Leading the charge in the past 36 years and the company that put the country on wheels is Maruti Suzuki. Who better than IV Rao, who recently retired as executive advisor, to reminisce about the change in the country's automotive environment and the company that grew from making 20,000 cars a year to over 1.8 million a year. An exclusive column for Autocar Professional.

Maruti Suzuki India is the prime mover and shaker of the Indian automotive industry. It is also among the first to employ multi-modal transport logistics to transport cars from its plants. Apex industry body SIAM recently held its sixth Logistics Conclave where industry experts and stakeholders how a judicious mix of road, rail and shipping logistics can help industry in a time of downturn.

From Make in India to Innovate in India 
Indian manufacturing has for the most part achieved global scale and quality. Make in India has been a huge success but it's time for innovate in India. Premier automotive research organisation, ARAI has recently set up a simulation Centre of Excellence in association with software major ANSYS to work on automotive megatrends, including vehicle electrification.

Electric mobility is an area where 70-year-old CV major Ashok Leyland, which aims to enter the Top 10 CV makers club, is scouting for partnerships and strategic ties to successfully ride the EV era. We speak to Dr Seshu Bhagavathula, president, New Technologies and Business Initiatives.

For higher range, EVs will necessarily have to be lightweight. Or 'rightweight' as Tata Technologies would have it. Our Interview of the Fortnight is with Anand Bhade, president - APAC Sales & Global Marketing. He tells us how the 5R Rightweighting formula that delivers the Right performance at the Right price, by applying the Right amount of the Right material in the Right place can pay dividends to automakers.

The right idea is something which clicks in the marketplace. Pune-based entrepreneurs Chetan and Aditi Walunj's idea to manufacture diesel-dispensing bowsers for doorstep delivery of the fuel to commercial consumers has seen success in a short span of time. Their conviction in the business and their start-up Repos Energy has also seen Ratan Tata invest in the future potential of the company. We have the inside story.

The second half of August will see a host of official product launches. One of the biggest is that of the Kia Seltos, whose pricing SUV aficionados as well as rivals are awaiting with bated breath. Plenty of info in our four-page feature on how the Korean carmaker is looking to connect with young India along with the driving impression of Kia's first product for India.

The first half of August was packed with exciting industry news, most of which occupies prime space in our News pages. It ranges from Mahindra & Mahindra and Tata Motors' plans to launch new EVs, Jaya Hind Industries becoming the first Indian company to make large aluminium structural parts in the country, Euler Motors' plans to launch a small electric CV in 2020 or Toyota Technical Training Institute's first batch of 42 skilled students graduating. 

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