Biswajyoti Mandal, CTO, Schaeffler India raised the red flag about the lack of a comprehensive policy roadmap during Autocar Professional’s 2-day virtual conference on ‘Meeting Emission Challenges’, "Emissions and efficiency are key triggers for technological innovation in the automotive sector. Lack of a broad policy framework is becoming a challenge for technology companies." He added that a more prudent roadmap would have helped the companies in better accessing the technologies, reduce costs and other parameters.
According to Mandal, it is not always practical to import technologies from West as the market in India is very cost sensitive and localisation coupled with smart solutions through frugal means may be the more appropriate way to move forward. He explained how, "multiple technology options are already helping reduce CO2 by almost 20 percent in ICE. Hybrids have additional cost compared to ICE. Full hybridisation can result in as much as 45 percent reduction in CO2. The battery-operated tech (as we have it now) has many fundamental challenges.”
Talking about the option of using hydrogen as an alternative, Mandal highlighted that by recently notifying standards for safety evaluation of hydrogen fuel cell-based vehicles, India has indicated its seriousness towards adoption of environmentally friendly fuels. India, which already gets counted amongst the largest producers of hydrogen, albeit in grey form (crude form) has some of the companies already working on developing hydrogen-cell related technologies which can be used for mass scale. “I will not be surprised if within a few years down the line, the adoption of hydrogen as a fuel increases exponentially” Mandal added.
Offering an insight into how CAFE norms may end up burdening vehicle manufacturers, Mandal pointed out that while OEMs that are making smaller cars may find it relatively easier to implement the mandated emission levels, those manufacturing larger vehicles could find it challenging. He therefore agreed with the other speakers in the panel on the option of introducing a model-specific norm that can help in balancing these inequalities.
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