NEW DELHI: The oil ministry’s announcement that the introduction of BS-VI fuels will be brought forward to April 2018 in the national capital territory of Delhi has evoked mixed reaction from the auto industry.
While acknowledging the move as a step in the right direction to tackle the worsening air quality in NCR, auto experts feel it is extremely unlikely that any major automobile company will be able to launch BS-VI compatible models by April next year. The ministry has also asked oil marketing firms to explore the possibility of introducing BS-VI fuels all across NCR by April 2019.
Welcoming the move, the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (Siam) said: “Early introduction of BS-VI fuel gives confidence to the auto industry that BS-VI fuel will be available across the country from April 1, 2020, when the auto industry will fully migrate to manufacturing only BS-VI compliant vehicles on a pan-India basis.”
The statement reflects the thinking among auto sector pundits. “The benefit we see at the point of rollout is reduced emissions from BS-IV vehicles burning BS-VI fuels. However, we do not think it is feasible to introduce BS-VI models for Delhi alone, since BS-VI fuel would not be available outside the region,” said a senior auto industry official.
BS-VI vehicles cannot run on BS-IV fuels without damaging their engines. While experts say it is unlikely that any mass segment player will be able to launch BS-VI models by April 2018, a few overseas players in the premium segment such as Mercedes-Benz, Volkswagen, and Audi have the technology to do so.
The introduction of BS-VI fuels in NCT by April 2018 will also give auto firms opportunities to market-test their models before the pan-India rollout happens in April 2020.
“Availability of BS-VI fuel in Delhi from April 2018 also gives an opportunity to the vehicle manufacturers in this region to test and validate the BS-VI vehicles being developed by the auto industry so as to be fully ready for the April 2020 deadline,” said Abhay Firodia, president of the Siam.