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Mandatory AC in Trucks: Some Welcome The Move, Others Protest

Published On Nov 28, 2016By Lisa Pradhan

The Indian government’s recent amendment to the Motor Vehicle Act, 1988, that makes air-conditioning mandatory in all trucks from April 1, 2017 is getting mixed reactions from different quarters. Whereas truck drivers have welcomed the move, truck manufacturers are not yet ready to introduce the change within this short period.

The Society of Indian Automobile Manufactures (SIAM) has already appealed to the government to keep its decision on hold. According to a SIAM official, “The industry has worked for the past two years to bring BS-IV emission norm in trucks from April 2017. All these vehicles are in advanced stages of approvals and many have already been approved.” Incorporating the new change at this point will require structural changes and fresh approvals, an impossible task within the next four months, the official added.

SIAM has also said that this move does not improve the road safety for drivers. “The government should bring rules that prevent fleet owners from making a truck driver work for more than eight hours without a proper break,” the SIAM official added.

However, key commercial vehicle makers in India have welcomed the government’s push for mandatory AC in trucks. Mr. Erich Nesselhauf, Managing Director and CEO, Daimler India Commercial Vehicles (DICV), said, "With BharatBenz, we have been selling AC throughout our 9-49 ton range from day one onwards, so we are fully ready. Mandatory AC will deliver a significant boost to safer trucking and road safety.”

Mr. Nesselhauf also stressed on the fact that air-conditioning in trucks is much more than a comfort feature. The right temperature actually helps drivers to stay fit and focused during long hours even in the most adverse environmental conditions. Currently, one out of five BharatBenz truck customers opts for air-conditioned cabins.

Whereas Tata Motors has been rolling out cabins with ACs for some years, air-conditioning is available in BharatBenz trucks as an optional feature since the truck maker’s inception in India in 2012.

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