“The regulatory situations in India is changing. Going forward, we will soon see CAFE norms, BS VI phase 2 and many more. And, lightweighting plays a pivotal role in reducing emissions,” said CV Raman, Chief Technology Officer, Maruti Suzuki India.
He was delivering the keynote address on the ‘New-Age Dynamic of Lightweighting in Vehicle Engineering’ at Autocar Professional’s 2021 Vehicle Lightweighting Conference. Starting the address about the climatic changes, Maruti Suzuki India's CTO said that the transport sector in India contributes to 13 percent of greenhouse gas emissions. Though these are lower than GHG emission by auto in EU, the PVs in India contribute to 40-45 percent of it. Two-wheelers will be around 40-45 percent and the remaining by commercial vehicles.
“A 10 percent weight reduction can improve fuel efficiency by 3-4 percent, and reduce emissions by 3-4 grams. This will push everyone in the chain to push lightweighting," he added.
Adding more, “To achieve the target that is set by the PM at COP 26, there are many challenges. When you look at the per capita income of India, it is lower when compared to China. We have a passenger vehicle penetration of 13 per 1000 and have 13 million two wheelers. These challenges are unique to India. But, one thing which is clear is reducing emissions.”
Maruti Suzuki is using higher tensile steel in structure, Raman pointed out. The current Swift is actually 125kg lighter than the first-gen model of 2005. The Heartect platform of the company is helping them improve structural and torsional rigidity, increases strength but also reduces weight and in turn emissions. “Maruti Suzuki is switching over to the fifth-generation Heartect platform,” he said.
Making it light
According to the CTO, lightweighting can also be addressed by a combination of optimum materials and manufacturing technology. It calls for a collaborative effort on the part of industry. There needs to be a collaborative effort for production, manufacturing and distribution to cut down energy consumption and also to reduce emissions.
“There is also a need to build a collaborative ecosystem. Recycle, reduce and reuse will be the way forward. Also, we need to continuously upskill the workforce,” he said.
Pointing out examples, Raman mentioned that the fuel boxes which were in metal earlier have become plastic have reduced weight by 30 percent. This has also reduced the rust-related issues and to package it in the platform has become a lot easier. “Even in powertrain, there has been a significant increase of plastics in place of metals and cast reducing the weight by 30 percent and cost by 47 percent,” he states.
“Moving forward, there is much potential to reduce CNG cylinder weight by 50-60 percent by using composites. This will help reduce overall vehicle weight as well as increase efficiency. This will also enable use of hydrogen-CNG mix – wide ramifications. In EVs, additional battery weight is a challenge. We all need to look at the battery platform, look at substituting materials and use advanced high tensile steel. A ground-up platform needs to be built to develop lightweight EVs. We need to have a 360-degree approach,” he said.
But that's not all. In case you have missed Day 1, you can still register yourself for Day 2 of the Virtual Conference on emerging trends in automotive lightweighting.