Yamaha Motor Research & Development India (YMRI) successfully completed its establishment term and achieved its initial target of putting in place required manpower and equipment at its new development centre. Auto Tech Review spoke to Yasuo Ishihara, Managing Director, YMRI, to understand the progress the company is making on the various fronts of product development and key technologies that may be seen in its future products.
YMRI is accelerating its core engineering capabilities with support from its global headquarters and is now well placed to develop some small models. The company’s R&D centre has been currently developing a few low-cost items, inducting small changes on the Fascino and the Ray ZR. Ishihara said YMRI is keen to move to the next phase of expanding capable domains and is making mid-term ground for advancement of its capabilities.
YMRI has not only begun developing BS VI models but also almost completed the development of all necessary BS VI models. The company can now produce BS VI achievable vehicles before the mandatory April 2020 date. Ishihara said the key components for BS VI are in place and there aren’t any roadblocks for the initial launch of these models. Cost, however, is one factor that comes into consideration, as some components are expensive, he noted.
A majority of the products featuring carburettors will now get fuel injection systems on account of which costs will surely rise, he said. After the launch of BS VI models, YMRI will continue to undertake cost-reduction activities with its suppliers. Ishihara said once the Indra project – a concept that is used for all the development activities – comes to a successful conclusion, the company will be able to apply this concept for the development of high priced models as well as affordable commuter models.
YMRI is also undertaking quality assurance activities with its supplier partners and has experienced a gradual improvement in its quality levels. Ishihara stated that since its partners are aggressive about acquiring new manufacturing or quality technology, it is a happy situation for the company to be in.
EXISTING & FUTURE TECHNOLOGIES
Electric vehicles have been the talk of the town in India and Yamaha will launch its electric-powered models in line with the directives of the Indian government. Ishihara said the company already has put electric scooters on sale in Japan and the technology can be easily adapted and brought to India, with vehicle preparation being the only requirement. Cost and infrastructure require a national movement and without that customers will not purchase these products owing to high prices and lack of charging infrastructure, the YMRI top official said.
The company is also focusing on other alternate fuels and is undertaking large-scale discussion within YMRI – it has gained experience in this area with its business operations in Brazil. YMRI has a few biofuel vehicles running on ethanol and YMRI has conducted research on these vehicles in order to analyse potential for the Indian market. Another front that is being looked into is connected vehicle technologies. Ishihara said the company is surprised at the low-cost offerings in the market as far as connected features are concerned. YMRI aims to seek out necessary functions on the connected technology of vehicles to improve customer convenience. The company’s focus is on driving new innovations that will be supplied to its customers. YMRI is looking at preparing an effective function for customers, which can be supplied at an affordable price.
Yamaha has also introduced the Variable Valve Actuation (VVA) technology on a single cylinder engine for the first time in India. This is another engineering property Yamaha has created for Indian models. As opposed to the previous torque output on the Yamaha R15, the new R15 V3 single cylinder motor provides a flat torque curve, thanks to the introduction of the new VVA technology. YMRI has derived expertise of this technology from other models in different countries and leveraged it for developing Indian parts. The Yamaha R15 V3 features different types of cams and solenoid unit, making it suitable for sporty riding. The utilisation of this technology will only be seen on performance-oriented units.
TEXT: Joshua David Luther