iEGR: Ashok Leyland’s Future-Ready Technology for BS-IV
Published On Jul 10, 2017
Ashok Leyland’s path-breaking technology has surprised the automotive world with its flexibility and affordability. Is it the best alternative there is? We find out.
When the country was still grappling with the abrupt discontinuation of BS-III norms, stressed because of truckloads of unsold inventory, and hence offering heavy discounts, Ashok Leyland asked its dealers to stick to the pricing. It seemed like a bold move from the company at that moment, until April 21, 2017, when it finally showcased the revolutionary Intelligent Exhaust Gas Recirculation (iEGR) technology. While the entire market was flooded with discounts, Ashok Leyland sat back with a robust, future-ready plan.
While introducing iEGR to the world for the first time, Vinod Dasari, MD, Ashok Leyland, pointed out how iEGR would result in direct benefits to the customers, environment and the commercial vehicles market in the country in general. He said, “For our customers it will mean ease of use and better cost efficiencies. For the environment it will mean more efficient fuel combustion and improved emissions. The indigenous development of iEGR technology will also mean faster time to market and minimal cost of implementation. We will emerge as the ONLY OEM in India to have achieved this."
What is it?
Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR) and Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) were the only technologies that were being talked about during the transition to BSIV norms. Ashok Leyland had introduced SCR in 2010 in select markets. EGR was also being offered by the company simultaneously. After conducting extensive studies, the company came to the conclusion that while SCR wasn’t a practical solution for emerging markets, traditional EGR, though simpler, faced the challenge of returning a lower fuel efficiency. Putting customer needs first, Ashok Leyland developed a unique solution for Indian roads - iEGR.
iEGR is another testament to Ashok Leyland’s pioneering innovations when it comes to technology. Western companies might rue it off as “jugaad”, but iEGR is a groundbreaking Indian innovation. Addressing the same, Dasari has been quoted as saying, “I take great pride in Indian innovation. Western companies who are afraid of Indian innovation, they will say, 'ye jugaad karte hai'. This is not 'jugaad'. Five years, my engineers have worked on this. Day and night they have come up with this kind of solution. Give them some credit. For seven years I was selling mechanical fuel pump driven BS-III engine, world's only one to the extent that our fuel system supplier took it and demonstrated Indian innovation in their German research and development (R&D) labs. So they are proud of what we are doing. Sometimes, we ourselves beat ourselves up. So, IEGR was one superb innovation that we have done."
iEGR uses the best of both Common Rail System (CRS) and EGR technologies to improve engine life. iEGR also increases fuel efficiency by 10% in some applications. The major problem with EGR is that it can only be used for engines up to 130 horsepower, while SCR can only be used beyond. iEGR triumphs this problem as it can be used for engines up to 400 horsepower. Right now, Ashok Leyland is the only domestic manufacturer to implement this technology for its products above 130HP.
Why is it better?
At present, there are a few alternatives to iEGR like SCR and EGR, but they don’t come close to the flexibility, long-term affordability and simplicity that it offers. Let’s find out how.
1. No Additional Hardware:
While iEGR doesn’t have any additional hardware on board, SCR comes with a bunch of additional thingamabobs. Even though iEGR’s components haven’t been revealed, what is certain is that it gives the Particle Oxidation Catalyst (POC) of the EGR a miss. POCs are prone to the accumulation of soot in their filters, thus affecting efficiency. When compared to SCR, it doesn’t feature any of the cumbersome hardware like a DEF tank, a pump module, DEF level gauge, a dozing nozzle, a plethora of sensors, an SCR muffler and the ECU. While all this electronic wizardry might seem lucrative, if a sensor dislodges or if DEF level is low, the vehicle goes into limp-home mode.
2. More Affordable:
SCR employs an additional fluid to lower emissions, called DEF or AdBlue. Not only is the cost of AdBlue an addition to the running costs incurred, but the fact that it isn’t easily available in emerging markets also makes it an obstacle in achieving better emission norm-compliance. Since iEGR, unlike SCR, doesn’t use AdBlue, the cost of running goes down considerably.
3. Supports Engines Up To 400 Horsepower:
One of the major challenges in the transition from BS-III to BS-IV was that traditional EGR could only support engines up to 130 HP. Anything above that required SCR. iEGR has triumphed this problem by being compatible for engines up to 400 horsepower.
4. No Compromise On Payload:
With all the complicated electronics and other hardware on board, SCR brings in a lot of additional weight that compromises payload. By excluding the complete package of additional hardware as onboard in case of SCR, iEGR offers better payload capacity.
All in all, Ashok Leyland seems to be at the helm of the paradigm shift aided by pioneering technology. That said, the technological advancements haven’t been included just for the sake of it but are actually relevant when it comes to emerging markets. In fact, in a world where automakers are making do with the technology available at hand and compromising on value for customers, Ashok Leyland has opened up a new world of possibilities for customers worldwide. Not only is iEGR advanced in terms of flexibility and the ease of transitioning to higher emission norm compliance, but the affordability it offers when it comes to maintenance also makes it the smartest alternative for the commercial vehicle market.