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India advises auto firms to start making BS VI-Compliant Flex-Fuel Vehicles

  • Category
    Environment
  • Published
    3rd Jan, 2022

Context

The Union Ministry of Road Transport and Highways issued guidelines for Flex-Fuel Vehicles and Flex-Fuel Strong Hybrid Electric Vehicles.

Background

  • Bharat Stage (I, II, III, IV & VI) are emission standards set by the governing body Bharat Safety Emission Standard (BSEB) to regulate the output of pollutants from vehicles plying on the road. 
  • They aim to regulate the output of air pollutants from internal combustion engine and spark-ignition engine equipment, including motor vehicles.
  • The central government has mandated that vehicle makers must manufacture, sell and register only BS-VI (BS6) vehicles from April 1, 2020.
  • These emission norms are now mandatory for petrol vehicles and unleaded petrol was introduced in the market.

Regulating organizations

  • Bharat Stage Emission Standards (BSES), regulates the output of pollutants from vehicles plying in the country.
  • The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) which falls under the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change sets the standards to regulate emissions from vehicles in India.

Analysis

What are BS6 (BSVI) norms?

  • The first emission standard or norm, introduced in the year 2000, was known as ‘India 2000’ and later, BS2 and BS3 were introduced in 2005 and 2010, respectively.
  • While the first three emission norms were introduced at regular intervals, BS4 was introduced in 2017, after a gap of seven years.
  • The BS6 emission standard is the sixth iteration of the emission norm.

Fuel Type

Pollutant Gases

BS6 (BSVI)

Petrol Passenger Vehicle

Nitrogen Oxide (NOx) Limit

<60mg>

Petrol Passenger Vehicle

Particulate Matter (PM) Limit

<4.5mg/km

Diesel Passenger Vehicle

Nitrogen Oxide (NOx) Limit

<80mg>

Diesel Passenger Vehicle

Particulate Matter (PM) Limit

<4.5mg/km

Diesel Passenger Vehicle

HC + NOx

170mg/km

 Key-highlights of the guidelines for Flex Fuel Vehicle

  • The Automatic Manufacturers in India have been asked to start manufacturing Flex Fuel Vehicles (FFV) and Flex Fuel Strong Hybrid Electric Vehicles (FFV-SHEVs).
  • This will help in substituting India’s import of petroleum as a fuel as well as provide direct benefits to farmers.
  • Automobile Manufacturers have been advised to start manufacturing such vehicles in accordance with BS-6 Norms in a timely manner within six months.

What are Flexible-fuel vehicle (FFV)?

  • FFVs are also called “dual-fuel vehicles” or flex-fuel vehicles.
  • These are an alternative fuel vehicle consisting of internal combustion engines that run on more than one fuel. 
  • They are capable of running on 100 per cent petrol or 100 per cent bio-ethanol or a combination of both.
  • The engine is usually run-on gasoline blended with either ethanol or methanol fuel. 
    • Both of the fuels are stored in a common tank. 
  • These vehicles are different from the bi-fuel vehicles, wherein two fuels are stored in separate tanks and the engine runs on one fuel at a time.

The “very first flex fuel vehicle” was Henry Ford’s Model T, which was introduced in 1908.

Why is government pushing for FFVs?

  • To cut oil import bills: The government wants to bring down the oil import bill by creating fuel substitutes like ethanol, hydrogen and electricity. Even a push till the E20 level can result in savings of $4 billion per annum, as per estimates. This is possible only if flex-fuel vehicles are made available in the market.
    • Last year (FY21), India’s oil import bill stood at $62.7 billion which was matched in just the first seven months (April-October) of this year.
  • To reduce emissions: Furthermore, FFVs will also help the government meet its commitments when it comes to reducing emission. This move will thus reduce Greenhouse Gas emissions from vehicles drastically and help India to comply with its commitment at COP26 to reduce carbon emissions by one billion tonnes by 2030.

Alternate fuels

  • Government is enabling the use of various alternate fuels in an effort to shift from fossil fuels. Alternative fuels include:
    • gaseous fuels such as hydrogen, natural gas, and propane
    • alcohols such as ethanol, methanol, and butanol
    • vegetable and waste-derived oils
    • electricity
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