The stringent emission standards and the gradual shift towards hybrid and e-mobility have brought in a paradigm shift in emissions technologies. The technologies, hardware and software vary depending on the norms and regulations of the country or region. These are typically scalable and modular to integrate and deploy in vehicles. Though tail pipe emissions have reduced in both diesel and gasoline vehicles in India, the diesel vehicles have seen a significantly rapid reduction over the past decade in India. This reduction, naturally, has ensured a cleaner environment, helped improve the health aspects that have resulted in a better ecosystem.
The technologies being developed and deployed have lesser weight, lesser components, less noise and more flexibility along with a higher capability of reducing emissions. The burning of fuel in the engine, design of combustion strategy, the engine control strategy and powertrain sizing affects the emissions controls being deployed. In addition, the innovations and emission technologies pertaining to lightweighting influence direct/ indirect tail pipe emissions reduction. Besides the tail pipe being cleaner, the span of emissions technologies have spread to reducing the CO2 footprint of the vehicle.
Handling the challenge of deploying flexibility in emissions technologies, especially in a diverse country or a region where the fuel specifications are different could, at times, be daunting. Deployment cost of the technologies within stringent time frames, with staggered technology variants across same vehicle platforms adds complexity and becomes a cost burden to manufacturers and consumers. It may be useful and prudent to combine the phase in and phase out of norms and regulations in sync with options to trade-in/ buy-out older technology variants or swap them with newer technologies in the vehicle.
An interesting trend to note in India is that the stricter emission norms are mostly introduced in the major Tier 1 cities, giving manufacturers and fuel suppliers time to ramp up the deployment and fuel distribution across these cities. Similarly in the US, California and New York are the first movers in implementing stricter norms in their states.
Another benchmark that experts have suggested for the Indian ecosystem, is to have a CAFE (Corporate Average Fuel Economy) sort of a system similar to the US that not only has standards related to fuel economy but also for the GHG norms listed in the current revisions. For India, experts suggest that auto manufacturers get credits for launching vehicles that meet stricter emissions in the select major Tier 1 cities, and if they have a rapid ramp up plan to expand the implementation of those cleaner vehicles in Tier 2 cities. The innovations and frugality in engineering the emission technologies in India are impressive.
Customers in some of the EU countries do get credits for purchasing vehicles that have a cleaner footprint. These credits are based on a calculation of the type of powertrain, CO2 footprint, which in turn is also influenced by the emission control technologies. This sort of a system has been suggested by experts, for India, to create a pull factor on the customer end and ensure that the cleaner vehicles deployment is seamless.
It is obvious that emission technologies are a key lever that affects the CO2 footprint and GHG of a vehicle, and can help increase the penetration of vehicles in mature markets globally if they are suitably implemented by auto manufacturers. It is a given that mass market innovations in these technology arenas have to be implemented at an affordable cost to maintain their sustainability and effectiveness in emerging markets.