The need for new environmentally-friendly technology in the Indian automotive sector

The Ministry of Heavy Industries & Public Enterprises released a press statement on 24 July outlining the need for new cutting-edge technology in the Automotive sector in the country.

The release said that India is the fifth largest car manufacturer, the seventh largest commercial vehicle manufacturer and the largest manufacturer of two-wheelers in the world.  The Indian auto-industry has begun implementing global automotive technologies in vehicles as well as in the auto component industry. Consequently, Indian uses innovative manufacturing processes that are more people-oriented as compared to a more machine-oriented workforce prevalent in other countries in the world.

As the global automotive industry is rapidly expanding and developing and introducing new product technologies, there is a growing need to introduce more of these technologies in the Indian automotive industry. Switching over from conventional Internal Combustion (IC) engine-based vehicles to new technologies like electric, hybrid, fuel cells is essential. This change is expected to reduce high import costs of fuel, the country’s dependence on fossil fuel resources, environmental degradation and the effects of climate change.  

In 2017, the International Energy Agency (IEA), an organisation based in Paris, said in its annual review of long-term global energy trends that the increasing electricity demand around the world will ensure that carbon-dioxide levels keep rising unless countries are more ambitious with their targets.

As of 2017, about 2 million out of 1 billion automobiles in the world run on electric or hybrid engines. The IEA expects that number will be at 50 million by 2025, and 280 million by 2040, as countries will promote the change to e-mobility.

The Indian automotive industry needs to start implementing more environmentally-friendly technologies like lithium-ion batteries and electric and hybrid engines for automotive applications and battery management systems.

The press release noted that in 2013, India rolled out the National Mission on Electric Mobility intended to develop e-mobility in Mission Mode. A Mission Mode Project (MMP) is an individual project within the National e-Governance Plan (NeGP). Within the NeGP, "mission mode" implies that projects have clearly defined objectives, scopes, and implementation timelines and milestones, as well as measurable outcomes and service levels.

A follow-up programme called the FAME (Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Hybrid & Electric Vehicles in India) Scheme was launched in 2015 to provide incentives to create demand, encourage the establishment of an Electronic Vehicle (EV) ecosystem, infrastructure and development of technology through R&D. The second phase of this scheme (FAME II), plans to bolster the EV industry with interventions in demand and supply and R&D efforts.

The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) is involved with the research and development of alternative fuels for vehicles in the country. The MNRE is supporting broad-based research and development programmes for the development of new and renewable energy technologies including hydrogen and fuel cells.

The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways has made it mandatory for the vehicle manufacturers in general and passenger car manufacturers, in particular, to comply with the country’s safety standards. These standards are technically aligned as much as possible with the international standards-UN ECE/Global Technical Regulations (GTRs).

The Department of Heavy Industry supports technological interventions for the automobile industry through grants for product and testing infrastructure development, through the Development Council for Automobile and Allied Industries (DCAAI) funds to Automotive Research Association of India (ARAI), Pune and academic institutions.

 (Read the Global Energy and Carbon Dioxide Status Report 2017 here)

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