Alternate Motor Vehicle Technologies
“There is an urgent need that the country should profit from the increased use of low tare weight and heavy haul multi axle trucks, which are more fuel-efficient.”
(The Integrated Transport Policy of India)
Alternative motor vehicle technologies to the traditional internal combustion engine (ICE) are an important way to attain sustainability by reducing volatility, sulphur, and adding oxygenated blend stocks (thereby reducing the need for high-octane aromatic hydrocarbons). Some of the vehicular technologies that are in implementation and testing stages are emissions control technologies, electric, plug-in, and hybrid vehicles.
Electric drive technology, which has been present since the beginning of automobile history, is fast becoming a viable form of vehicle technology, replacing internal combustion engines (ICE) and reducing dependence on associated fossil fuels. Some of the advantages that electric drive technologies have over traditional ICE engines, apart from decreased emissions are increased energy efficiency, no energy consumption while the vehicle is at rest or coasting and minimal engine noise and lower ambient noise.
Fuel cell technology, which has been in existence for a long time, has only been investigated for feasibility as an alternative hydrogen-based vehicle propulsion system. Fuel cell vehicles, similar to EVs, do not have any tailpipe emissions, are also quiet and cause no corrosion to the engine.
Flexible-fuel vehicles which will detect which type of fuel its tank has been filled and automatically adjust the engine are also being developed; this would increase the flexibility of the vehicle for operational purposes.
The alternate vehicle technology market in India is nascent but growing rapidly. Mahindra-Reva is the only manufacturer of electric passenger cars. Use of hydrogen and fuel cell technology are still in the R&D stages. The National Council on Electric Mobility (NCEM) has been set up under the Ministry of Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises. The Council has drafted the National Electric Mobility Mission Plan 2020 which lays the strategy roadmap for the Indian automotive industry to achieve xEV leadership.
- In August 2012, the Government of India (GoI) approved a Rs. 230 billion (€3.5 billion) plan to spur electric and hybrid vehicle production over the next eight years, setting itself an ambitious target of 6 million vehicles by 2020.
- In the 2012 Union Budget, the Finance Minister announced a concession in excise duties for fuel cell or hydrogen cell technology. In addition, reduction in excise duty on a CNG conversion kit has been and exemption of custom duty on import of hybrid parts were announced.