India’s second-largest heavy-duty truck manufacturer deployed its technical knowledge and resources into getting its massive 5-55T trucks to range BS-VI ready. An audacious goal, the company says, was possible due to the right technology selections and deeper research and development capabilities built over the years.
Ashok Leyland earlier this week exhibited its complete range of heavy-duty BS-VI ready range in Chennai. The first major CV maker to do so, and the company is now taking steps to make the trucks available to customers across the country. An extensive in-house, on the field trials, Ashok Leyland is confident that the trucks are fully ready to perform on India’s challenging operating conditions. The key highlight is its indigenously developed innovative mid-Nox technology and Modular Vehicle Platform to serve its customers most efficiently.
POLLUTION A FACTOR
A BS-VI engine reduces the nitrogen oxides (Nox) and particulate matters which are essentially toxic and trigger environmental challenges. India is already suffering from high air-pollution across all the major cities, and to address the challenge, the government has mandated the BS-VI emission norms for the automotive industry. A conservative estimate suggests that the pollutants emitted by 30 BS-VI vehicles are equal to one BS I vehicle, this clearly implies the need for the scrapping of old vehicles is equally necessary to reduce vehicular pollution.
Globally, the shift from BS-IV to BS-VI has taken place in 8-10 years period, India for the first time making this transition in just three years, thus skipping the intermediate BS-V norms step completely. This is certainly a challenge for vehicle makers, as they cannot just bring the available technological from the developed markets to put it to practice in India, because the operating environment is far different than other markets.
India needs a local solution, develop taking into consideration the operating and cost requirements. The customer in India wants world-class technology within affordable cost which poses a challenge for OEMs. While BS-VI migration has been a challenge, and now just five months away to implement, it also opens a window of opportunity for OEMs to cater to the global markets by experts.
Dr N. Saravanan, Chief Technology Officer, Ashok Leyland
Elaborating on the company’s strategies, Dr. N. Saravanan, Chief Technology Officer, Ashok Leyland said, “We have effectively met the BS-VI emission limits through a combination of proven iEGR and a best-in-class SCR system while making minimal changes in the engine. All this ensures that we build upon our dependable engine platforms and deliver better TCO to our customers. Our priority is to provide efficient, clean, safe, accessible, and affordable value proposition to our customers. We have been testing this new technology and have successfully covered over 5 million kilometers of the field running.”
Ashok Leyland is leveraging the in-house proven EGR, iEGR technology used in BS-IV emission, and more than 50,000 vehicles already on the road with millions of km of runs on Indian roads. Ashok Leyland with its own iEGR technology, combined with a few SCR inputs is confident to provide exceptionally suitable vehicles to Indian customers in the BS-VI regime. Besides collaborating with its group company Albonair Technologies which is a major player in the SCR technology, Ashok Leyland closely worked with key global partners including AVL, Bosch, Denso, Hino and others, etc.
In a limited period of two and a half years, the company had done over 600,000 rounds of simulation of exhaust and after-treatment of the engine, 40,000 hours of engine physical testbeds simulation and 5 million km of actual vehicles running on the roads, when the necessary fuel wasn’t available. Yet, Ashok Leyland believes its technology selection, the rigorous validation brings the most robust solution for BS-VI in India across its entire range of vehicles 50-360hp.
NEW MODULAR PLATFORM
Ashok Leyland’s trucks are known for tough and rigorous operations across the length and breadth of India. Keeping the DNA intact, the company is taking the same approach into developing a new platform for its complete range of vehicles 16-55T.
The modular platform essentially helps in offering customized solutions to customers for any niche applications. This new modular platform with a common interface also helps in a lesser number of parts in a vehicle benefits OEMs, dealers, and customers. To offer durability, reliability and comfort range of cabins, different engines, and transmission configuration, thus providing multiple choices to the customer.
Moreover, the new platform also addresses customer pain points in terms of service requirements which have three different aspects, firstly reduction of time of vehicle maintenance at the workshops, extending service intervals, and lastly addressing small minor issues. The goal is to provide maximum value to the customers with this new platform to enable him to buy a variety of products, making them easier to maintain and operate efficiently.
Ashok Leyland’s approach has been not just getting the most robust BS-VI vehicles for the Indian market, but also go beyond it to develop a completely new truck platform making it modular to be ready for current and future market requirements. The company says such modularity hasn’t been done by any company globally, with the complexities of three cabs with 16-55T range, this Ashok Leyland believes offers an advantage to cater the customers' combination of three cabins.
After over three years of intensive development work, Ashok Leyland is prepared to go into the new emission regime, confident of its efforts in bringing the right products to its customers.