‘Bharat’ stamp on road safety

Now, after years of deliberation, India, too, has announced its own crash test protocol — the Bharat New Car Assessment Programme (BNCAP).

Published: 09th September 2023 11:06 AM  |   Last Updated: 09th September 2023 11:06 AM   |  A+A-

Crash test. (Photo | Special arrangement)

Crash test. (Photo | Special arrangement)

Express News Service

CHENNAI: India has announced its own crash test protocol in an effort to re-emphasise just how paramount safety is and to aid the automotive industry to lessen its dependence on overseas agencies which levy 4x the cost. Industry giants are hailing the decision ‘the right move’

At least one out of 10 people killed on roads across the world is from India, according to the World Health Organisation. Given this data, one would naturally think that the crash test results of a vehicle entering the Indian market would trump its other vectors. Sadly, that’s not the case.

For long, the price-mileage equation of a car has dominated most conversations in the country. This has left many Indian cars to be ridiculed as ‘pappads’, as they perform very poorly in terms of safety.

Thankfully, this is slowly changing. As the market evolves, a lot of informed buyers are also considering crash test ratings from international programmes like the Global New Car Assessment Programme (GNCAP) and Euro NCAP as criteria to aid their decision about buying a new car.

Now, after years of deliberation, India, too, has announced its own crash test protocol — the Bharat New Car Assessment Programme (BNCAP). With this, India becomes the fifth country in the world to have its own crash test rating structure.

BNCAP was formulated by the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways with the help of Global NCAP. The Automotive Research Association of India, the leading R&D organisation in the country, is its testing agency. The ratings will come into effect from October 1, 2023.

Bharat NCAP’s testing protocol is aligned with the global crash test protocols. This implies that the programme will give a star rating between 1-5 for cars tested, with 1 being the lowest. Based on the performance of the vehicle in the tests, the model will be awarded a separate star rating for adult and child occupants.

The writer is a freelance auto expert who hosts TV shows and anchors the YouTube channel ‘CARKADUVA’

The parameters for the star rating include various factors like pedestrian-friendly design, structural safety of the car, provision of active and passive safety assist technologies, and the safety of adult and child occupants.

BNCAP ratings are not mandatory as of now. This is the case across the globe, but given how the industry has voluntarily accepted it, the ratings have become a strong selling proposition. In addition to combustion-engined vehicles, Bharat NCAP will also test and rate CNG and electric vehicles.

How it works
Car manufacturers can nominate a vehicle model. The BNCAP team will visit the manufacturing facility of that particular vehicle and will select the base variant through random sampling. This selected unit of the vehicle will be crash tested at the BNCAP testing centre, witnessed by the representatives of the car manufacturer.

The test results will be analysed, following which the star ratings and the crash test results of that particular vehicle published by the BNCAP will be certified by the Central Institute of Road Transport.
The BNCAP crash testing specifies tests like frontal impact test (offset deformable barrier), side impact test, and pole side impact test. The speed at which the vehicle will be crash tested remains at 64kmph, which is the same as the global testing protocol. Apart from the points given for crash tests, there are safety assist technology qualifiers for each rating.

According to Nitin Gadkari, the Minister for Road Transport & Highways, the cost of testing a car under BNCAP is around Rs 60 lakh, an amount that is significantly lower than the nearly `2.5 crore that manufacturers need to shell out if the same process is to be done overseas. The government expects the introduction of BNCAP to aid the Indian automotive industry to become more export-oriented. 

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