The Indian Auto Industry today faces the twin Challenges of being perceived as the Polluter and killer on the road.
The same has led to tightening of the emission norms with Bharat VI (Equivalent Euro VI) mandated from 2020 by skipping Bharat V. There is a need to notify India specific next stage emission norms so that the momentum is maintained.
However, the bigger challenge to the sustained growth of the Indian Auto Industry comes from congestion on the road due to factors beyond the control of the Industry. As far safety is concerned India has aligned their safety regulations with Global Technical regulations made under the aegis UN WP 29. India is a signatory to the 1998 agreement and contributes in the formulations of the same.
Congestion on the roads not only causes higher pollution from vehicles but also higher fuel consumption and CO2 emissions a global warming gas. This would impact the Government roadmap for reduction of import of crude oil dependence by 10% by 2021-22 and reducing the energy emissions intensity by 33%-35% by 2030 as per the NDC targets agreed in COP 21 at Paris Convention.
Congestion on roads also leads to more accidents, travel time and road rage. In absence of any concrete actions being taken it would impact the sustained growth of the Industry as some policy makers and influencers are talking about putting restrictions on the sale of the new vehicles, quoting Singapore etc.
It is also important to understand the per capita vehicles in India are one of the lowest even in comparison to comparable economies, in spite of the absence of public transport. India has about 20 passenger cars, 108 2 wheelers and only 0.11 buses per 1000 persons. Therefore, denying the masses of mobility by restricting the sale of new vehicles would not be good planning.
Further the number of vehicles per kilometre of road length is lowest in Delhi. As per data Delhi has 14 K vehicles per square kilometre compared to 30K, 24K,24K, and 10K in Hongkong, Seoul, Paris and Tokyo respectively. Moreover, in terms of percentage road space of Total area Delhi has the highest at 21 % in comparison to 11% to 13 % in the above cities. Inspite of the high percentage area under roads in the city, Delhi is always congested not only during peak hours but now at all times of the day. This is primarily due to road condition and engineering, road discipline, traffic management and enforcement. Enforcement can act a deterrent but is not the panacea unless all aspects are developed simultaneously.
The Industry also needs to act proactively and leverage the technology where possible to reduce emission by equipping all vehicles mandatory with start & stop feature, regenerative braking system etc. while working with authorities and support introduction of Intelligent traffic management system, driver training (lane driving) etc. which can play an important role in easing the current situation
There is a need to have a mission mode project for:
- Intelligent traffic management system which can play an important role in easing the current situation.
- Development and introduction of affordable, safer and cleaner mass mobility solutions.