India among the other BRICS countries has been the most promising markets for the Automotive sector. With both local and foreign players raking in billions in automotive sales and services, the nation has become a playground for new emerging automobile technologies.
Providing employment by the millions and with billions of dollars invested, the Indian Automotive industry has asserted its dominance as a global player and a strong contributor to Indian economics and trade strength. However there has been a situation lurking around for decades behind this socio-economic rat race and is now demanding our immediate attention.
With tens of millions of vehicles running on Indian roads everyday, air pollution has risen alarmingly and now poses a serious threat to the public as well as automobile giants. In December–January 2015, in Delhi, an average PM 2.5 (particulate matter of 2.5 microns) level of 226 was noted by US embassy monitors in Delhi. The average in Beijing for the same period was 95. Delhi’s air is twice as bad as Beijing’s air. 80 per cent of PM 2.5 air pollution is caused by vehicular traffic.
With health risks like reduced lung capacity, headaches, sore throats, coughs, fatigue, and early death, it was vital to look for alternatives that would curb if not stop the problem.
The Indian government tried to tackle the situation by monitoring and regulating sales of vehicles that had a greater environmental impact, the full brunt of which had to be faced by diesel vehicles. While automotive manufacturers tried bringing in cleaner mobility solutions.
Nevertheless the need for Green Automotive Technology was dearly felt by the nation. While electric-powered vehicles show much promise, the technology and infrastructure required for successful deployment of the idea is still in its nascent stages.
On July 23,2016 the Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas of the Government of India and the Ministry of Environment together launched, after market CNG kits for the two-wheeler segment. A pilot batch of 10 Honda Activas retrofitted with the newly developed CNG kits were allotted to the popular pizza chain Dominoes for test runs and feedback. This pilot run will take place in Delhi and give valuable insights about feasibility and safety. The project has the approval of ARAI (Automotive Research Association of India) and will comprise of 50 such vehicles.
CNG runs cleaner, is cheaper and also reduces the strain of consumption on conventional fuels. It also provides better mileage, thus being pocket friendly for the consumer. With better mileage and cleaner fuel consumption the CNG variant is a win-win situation for all.Two wheelers being the dominant sector in the Automotive market, such initiatives will eventually offer much needed relief to the environment whilst encouraging cheaper and affordable mobility.