Chennai: Commercial vehicles major Ashok Leyland Ltd, which claims that it is the first Indian original equipment manufacturer (OEM) to meet BS-VI emission norms for all its heavy duty trucks, will first seed its BS-VI compliant vehicles with fleet operators to get their feedback, a senior company official said on Tuesday. Chief Technology Officer N. Saravanan also said the challenge is to get the required quality of fuel for BS-VI vehicles across the country.
"We will first seed the BS-VI with fleet operators and get their feedback. We are looking at some market pockets for this purpose," he told reporters here. From April 1, 2020, onwards all vehicles have to comply with the BS-VI emission norms. Ashok Leyland said its full range of heavy duty trucks -- Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW) 16.2 ton and above -- are complying with the BS-VI emission norms. Saravanan received the certificate, confirming the compliance with BS-VI emission standard from the Automotive Research Association of India (ARAI) on August 29.
The company invested about Rs 600-700 crore over a period of three years for developing the BS-VI engine technology, he said. According to him, the company had tested 35 BS-VI emission compliant heavy duty trucks on Indian roads for about two million kilometres, and plans to have test rides for another 4-5 million kms. "The fuel efficiency is comparable to that of BS-IV vehicles. The vehicles were tested with under/right/over loads," Saravanan said.
According to him, the training of personnel at the dealer level will be done. On exports opportunities, he said the company exports to countries where the vehicles have to comply with BS-IV norms. "Ashok Leyland has always been a pioneer in the introduction of new technology in the commercial vehicle industry and this achievement of meeting the BS-VI emission standard across our heavy vehicle range further reinforces our position as technology leaders," Chairman Dheeraj Hinduja was quoted as saying in a company statement. "Compliance in the LCV (light commercial vehicle) and ICV (intermediate commercial vehicle) range will be completed shortly and we will offer a comprehensive range from 70 hp to 360 hp in BS VI application," he added.
With the slowdown in the automobile sector and the period of reversal to positive mode not known, it will be interesting to see how Ashok Leyland and other OEMs manage the near wiping out of market for BS-IV vehicles and the slower sales of BS-VI models. Asked about how the company is managing its component costs in the above circumstance -lower volumes for components - Saravanan said the company has a long-standing relationship with its vendors. On electric buses, he said the company will be participating the second tender under the Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Hybrid and Electric Vehicles in India (FAME India Scheme) for about 5,500 vehicles.