May 5, 2021
Posted by Sanjeev Kaul, Chairman & Managing Director, Lubrizol India
It’s been one year year since BS VI was implemented and, despite many challenges, we saw timely implementation of this emissions standard last year. There were challenges during implementation and the industry learned from those.
The year 2020 was tough and challenging on multiple fronts but the industry stayed strong and firm with resolutions underpinning growth and technology changes while adapting to the new normal. India successfully managed the implementation of BS VI, showcasing our resilience and technological advancement to the world. Apart from commercial vehicles, India along with Europe led the implementation of the world’s most stringent emission norms in the two-wheelers segment.
Leaping from BS IV to BS VI within three years was a challenging task for the industry as it required significant changes in hardware, starting with improvements in engine combustion, calibration along with the introduction of after-treatment devices. Additionally, numerous variables needed to be factored in—Indian driving conditions, load-carrying capacities, end-user perspective to meet long drain durability and fuel economy expectations with testing and validation done in record time. It not only demanded heavy investments but a collaborative and focused approach across the value chain to ensure a smooth transition.
In my opinion, one of the key learnings for the industry to take on board is that adhering to future legislation on time with cost efficiency will have to be implemented without concessions on timelines. Automobile manufacturers, fuel and lubricant manufacturers and additives companies would need to continue to collaborate while legislative bodies must provide a clear path with adequate timelines that will help in smoother execution.
Additive Manufacturers' Contribution
Automobile manufacturers are key stakeholders in the BS VI implementation; however, the additive industry played a crucial role. To meet the tighter particulate matter limits of BS VI, most of the vehicle segments—especially diesel—need to be fitted with a particulate filter that is sensitive to certain additive chemistries, thus BS VI led to a fundamental shift in additive technologies and a move towards the ones that are compatible with the emission control devices. While the additive world already had these technologies in place, the key behind the smooth implementation of BS VI was early engagement of additive manufacturers like ours with leading automobile manufacturers to understand changes specifically arising out of Indian operating conditions. It was important to know the impact on performance needs for appropriate additive technology profiling.
Here, we leveraged our experience from economies where such tighter emission norms were already implemented and, combined with our local expertise and business understanding, helped develop the technology required for Indian conditions. Our timely generation of product credentials providing “proof of performance“ with robust fluid technologies came in handy for original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to finetune their products for Indian conditions.
Next Steps Toward Further Vehicle Regulation and Sustainability
This industry keeps on evolving; hence, there are technological opportunities beyond BS VI. On the back of success with BS VI, there are quite a few technology interventions in pipeline—Fuel Economy Mandate, Trem-IV for off-highway vehicles and BS VI Part II—which indicate our journey towards the era of efficiency in India. We are fast aligning with the western economies on greenhouse gas emissions.
The focus on efficiency will be an enabler towards sustainability. In India, one of the biggest concerns is air pollution which has led to the emphasis on zero-emissions and is propelling discussions and policy support for our journey into the electric vehicle space.
The recently announced Vehicle Scrapping policy is another effort in improving the air quality as older vehicles will be replaced by newer more emission friendly and efficient ones. Additionally, the Government is also looking at sustainable alternate transportation fuel (e.g. Ethanol) to reduce its dependence on crude. We are moving in the right direction but it will all depend on action on the ground to expect results in medium to long term.
Change in Collaboration Channels Between Lubricant Companies, Automobile Manufacturers & Partners
It’s been more than a year since we have adapted to the new normal. The situation will remain uncertain for the foreseeable future, making it even more essential to maintain relationships and connect with the ecosystem partners since everything is virtual.
Our continuous endeavor to offer solutions and add value and technical know-how through webinars, virtual customer meetings and conferences are helping us to keep the momentum going. It has supported us to work collaboratively for our existing and future developments.
I think the industry has adapted well and has been quite fast in adopting these new working styles. As they say—the show must go on.
Further Steps to Overcome Unforeseen Challenges & Contribute to “Atmanirbhar Bharat”
Last year did push the industry to re-think and re-wire itself into a more agile fighting machine. It forced us to be more self-reliant in essential products particularly associated with the pharma and chemical industry.
On specialty transportation and industrial additive side, India is focused on moving forward by creating the need to develop technology, lubricants and fuel, etc. It will be possible when industries like ours, which provides essential components to one of the most important sectors, which, by many economists, referred to a leading indicator of the health of a country’s economy, work towards becoming “Atmanirbhar” and align with Government’s “Make in India” initiative.
To this effect, we must be one of those very few MNCs who possibly recognized the true potential of this country much long ago. It makes us proud to say that we have been in India for more than 50 years in full capacity. Our Turbhe, Navi Mumbai facility is an integral asset of our global manufacturing footprint not only catering to local needs but also globally. We had significant successes with our localization and local sourcing efforts over the last few years which gives us confidence around the overall raw material availability within India.