The Third Powertrain Technology Conference recently organised by the International Centre for Automotive Technology (ICAT) in New Delhi saw industry leaders, research and academic experts from across the powertrain fraternity deliberate on the future of powertrain technology. The two-day conference – held on October 11-12, 2018 – set the platform for speakers to discuss the current industry trends, upcoming technologies, strategies and means to facilitate product developments that would meet strict timelines, conform to regulatory norms and ensure end-product competence.
Industry experts also brought forth solutions to various industry challenges at the national and global scale. Speakers from AVL, Honda Cars, MG Motors, IIT Kanpur, Bosch, Cummins, ETAS, Horiba, Maruti Suzuki, LPC, Hero Electric, 22 Motors, Mahindra & Mahindra, Indian Oil, Kistler and ECMA attended this conference.
CURRENT TRENDS & ALTERNATE FUELS
The conference covered multiple forms of alternate fuels like biodiesel, hydrogen and more. Dinesh Tyagi, Director, ICAT, highlighted these as options for the future, while elaborating on electrification of powertrains, shared mobility, connected cars and autonomous vehicles. Tyagi observed that hydrogen could be an option to rescue the future of mobility. Hydrogen generation from the sun and water bodies could be an alternative to fuel cells and IC engines, he added. Elaborating on the electricity generation opportunities, he commented that electrolysis of water is an area that could be explored.
Neeti Sarkar, CEO & Project Director, NATRIP said powertrains are at the centre of a heated debate. India has a prominent two-wheeler market that makes around 79 % of the market segment and in this context, Sarkar said energy efficiency targets can be met through two-wheelers itself, if executed properly.
On the government’s push for EVs, P Balendran, Executive Director, MG Motors, said charging facility development and technical development of standards for EVs should be accorded priority. He was of the impression that electric vehicles will gain momentum going forward. Balendran also mentioned the launch of the first MG Motors vehicle in Q2 2018. Charles Frump, Managing Director, Volvo Cars India, stated that the government has set the right vision to push for electrification. Volvo has plans to electrify all its vehicles by 2019, he noted. The carmaker has set a target of rolling out one million electric cars by 2025.
With BS VI around the corner, Priyank Bharti, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH), concluded that the adoption of new emissions standards is a major change for the automotive industry. He was of the opinion that the introduction of real driving emissions (RDE) will be of significance in effective monitoring. The ministry has double-digit growth expectations from the EV industry and the government has taken four major steps to reduce the cost of ownership. These include importing a maximum of 2,500 vehicles without homologation for pilot run, promote green colour number plate for EVs, no road permits required for ethanol, methanol and alternate fuel vehicles, and no license required for two-wheelers with 4 kW motor.
The conference largely revolved around the future of powertrains, energy sources and reliable technology that will define the automotive space in the years to come. The deliberations at this year’s conference look to create a means to develop better and efficient mobility solutions for a cleaner, greener and proficient automotive regime in India. The government has initiated multiple fronts for alternate fuels and is pushing in many directions. There is a dire need for the regulatory systems and the dynamics of the environment to adopt a focussed approach for the industry to follow. The future of EVs is highly dependent on battery charging systems, infrastructure and economies to drive volumes. However, the industry expects a 30 % volume of EVs by 2030 in India.