Search on for pos­si­ble fu­ture of sus­tain­able mo­bil­ity so­lu­tions

The third con­ven­tion hosted by ICAT on Oc­to­ber 11 and 12, 2018 fo­cused on new pow­er­train tech­nolo­gies, re­duc­ing emis­sions, mov­ing to­wards BS-VI emis­sion norms and elec­tric ve­hi­cles.

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The 2 day con­ven­tion or­gan­ised in New Delhi by the In­ter­na­tional Cen­tre for Au­to­mo­tive Tech­nol­ogy (ICAT), re­volved around the fu­ture of pow­er­train tech­nolo­gies. Its tim­ing was very ap­pro­pri­ate as the talks on al­ter­na­tive fuel op­tions such as hy­dro­gen fuel cells, elec­tric ve­hi­cles and oth­ers are gain­ing mo­men­tum. Right from large play­ers such as Mahin­dra & Mahin­dra to an­a­lyst firms to star­tups such as Twen­tyTwo Mo­tors were present at this con­ven­tion dis­cussing the im­por­tance of sus­tain­able mo­bil­ity so­lu­tions.

Di­nesh Tyagi, Di­rec­tor, ICAT said, While elec­tric ve­hi­cles are the way for­ward, hy­dro­gen fuel should also be ex­plored and if re­quired, ex­ploited for a coun­try like In­dia due to the vol­ume of ve­hi­cles and the lim­ited avail­abil­ity of raw ma­te­ri­als such as Cobalt and Lithium.

P Bal­en­dran, Ex­ec­u­tive Di­rec­tor, MG Mo­tor In­dia Lim­ited said, the In­dian OEMs have im­proved their de­signs to meet the next gen­er­a­tion de­mand. “Not only de­sign, the fu­ture of ve­hi­cles will be elec­tric as well as au­ton­o­mous. Although it is out of con­text for a pow­er­train tech­nol­ogy con­ven­tion, but elec­tron­ics tak­ing care of the driv­ing dy­nam­ics would mean lower num­ber of ac­ci­dents. The new mo­bil­ity so­lu­tions would take over, but it will take some time to come to EV stan­dards.

Charles Frump, Man­ag­ing Di­rec­tor, Volvo Auto In­dia, also spoke about the im­por­tance of BS-VI readi­ness for which Volvo as a brand has ex­ist­ing as well as up­com­ing prod­ucts. The big­gest chal­lenge for Volvo would be to bring in 1 mil­lion elec­tric cars on the road by 2025 glob­ally. Frump also said that plug-in tech­nol­ogy would be the way for­ward.

R K Mal­ho­tra, Di­rec­tor, Re­search and Devel­op­ment, In­dian Oil said, the largest chal­lenges for the In­dian au­to­mo­tive mar­ket cur­rently are the ini­tial cost of bat­tery and hav­ing the re­quired charg­ing in­fras­truc­ture. The chal­lenge also lies in the sourc­ing of raw ma­te­ri­als which are not avail­able in In­dia. This would mean en­ter­ing into a free trade agree­ment with lithium-rich or lithium-con­trol­ling coun­tries. Un­der the new tech­nolo­gies, a proper ecosys­tem for elec­tric ve­hi­cles as well as al­ter­na­tive fu­els would even­tu­ally be needed to cre­ate a sus­tain­able mo­bil­ity so­lu­tion.

Apart from the avail­abil­ity of raw ma­te­ri­als such as lithium, which is a huge con­cern for

In­dia, com­pa­nies in­clud­ing start-ups dis­cussed how spe­cific com­po­nents in in­ter­nal com­bus­tion en­gines can be made bet­ter.

One such com­pany present at the con­ven­tion was Zy­gor En­ergy which has pro­posed to var­i­ous OEMs for us­ing spark plugs and in­take valves sup­plied by the com­pany. In­der Sharma, Founder and Owner of Zy­gor En­ergy, stressed the need of up­grad­ing the scale of such com­po­nents which make a ve­hi­cle more fuel ef­fi­cient and re­duce emis­sions by about 25%. This is made pos­si­ble by us­ing mul­ti­ple elec­trodes which re­sult in bet­ter com­bus­tion of the fuel and air mix­ture go­ing in a petrolpow­ered en­gine’s cylin­der.

Sharma said that the new spark plugs have been thor­oughly tested in the US. By get­ting as­sis­tance from NITI Aayog, Zy­gor En­ergy made the move to bring this tech­nol­ogy to In­dia. The new spark plug works on the ‘Conde Ef­fect’ where the mul­ti­ple elec­trodes in it are spi­ralled and help com­plete com­bus­tion. “In­ter­nal Com­bus­tion En­gines are not go­ing any­where for an­other 30 to 40 years and they are here to stay,” Sharma said. Dur­ing his pre­sen­ta­tion, he pointed out that the new spark plugs low­ered emis­sions and their life cy­cle was sub­stan­tially higher than the con­ven­tional ones. Based on the tests con­ducted by Zy­gor En­egy in the US, the spark plugs lasted over 1 lakh km.

The new com­po­nents are be­ing pilot tested in New Delhi/NCR re­gion wherein a CNG ve­hi­cle has also been taken into ac­count. A Maruti Suzuki WagonR fit­ted with a CNG kit also re­sulted in bet­ter fuel ef­fi­ciency as well as less loss of ac­cel­er­a­tion. Such pilot projects have ac­cel­er­ated the un­der­stand­ing to­wards what a sus­tain­able fu­ture for mo­bil­ity could be.

Zy­gor En­ergy is work­ing to bring about a mass-pro­duced ve­hi­cle that has un­lim­ited range. For that there would be 2 sets of bat­ter­ies, wherein 1 bat­tery unit would be run­ning the ve­hi­cle, while the other unit would be charg­ing. Sharma said that this tech­nol­ogy would not be avail­able in mass pro­duc­tion in the near fu­ture.

Devesh Pa­reek, Man­ager, Elec­tron­ics, ICAT, con­tin­ued with the var­i­ous ap­pli­ca­tions where ICAT tests var­i­ous au­to­mo­tive com­po­nents at its fa­cil­ity in Mane­sar. The in­vest­ment of Rs 1,100 crore for these fa­cil­i­ties is in line with the test­ing for premium prod­ucts as well as com­po­nents which are com­ing up in the ad­vent of elec­tric mo­bil­ity. He said that ICAT en­cour­aged start-ups to test their new mo­bil­ity so­lu­tions in its test fa­cil­i­ties. He sup­ported new mo­bil­ity so­lu­tions such as elec­tric ve­hi­cles. He said, “In an elec­tric ve­hi­cle the losses that hap­pen at the wheel for the en­ergy trans­ferred from a bat­tery are sub­stan­tially less than in an in­ter­nal com­bus­tion en­gine.”

Pa­reek be­lieves that an elec­tric pow­er­train which is al­ready ef­fi­cient can be made bet­ter by us­ing bet­ter elec­tron­ics. ICAT has the ca­pa­bil­i­ties to up­date elec­tron­ics such as con­trollers etc which do most of the de­ci­sion-mak­ing in a ve­hi­cle with­out ma­jor mod­i­fi­ca­tions. Re­gen­er­a­tion of en­ergy such as re­gen­er­a­tive brak­ing is also an­other area where ICAT is work­ing. Pa­reek said that if re­gen­er­a­tion of en­ergy can hap­pen, it will in­crease the over­all ef­fi­ciency of a ve­hi­cle, es­pe­cially in the elec­tric pow­er­trains.

An ex­per­i­ment con­ducted by ICAT at one of its test fa­cil­i­ties showed that for heavy ve­hi­cles used in pub­lic trans­porta­tion, re­gen­er­a­tive brak­ing is im­per­a­tive. Pa­reek said that a rugged elec­tronic sys­tem should be able to with­stand the high cur­rent val­ues dur­ing re­gen­er­a­tion of elec­tric­ity and sim­i­larly the bat­tery needs to be able to with­stand the high cur­rent for a short pe­riod of time.

Sameer Jin­dal, Di­rec­tor, MG Mo­tors In­dia, spoke about the trends in China. He spoke on the trend of elec­tric ve­hi­cles in China and elab­o­rated on a pos­si­ble model for In­dia, which may not be the same as China’s, but sim­i­lar. Jin­dal said heavy in­cen­tives by the Govern­ment and fur­ther sup­port by the lo­cal govern­ment bod­ies, greatly pushed for­ward the e-mo­bil­ity so­lu­tions.

The con­ven­tion re­volved around new and sus­tain­able pow­er­trains that would pro­pel the ve­hi­cles of the fu­ture. Right from pub­lic trans­port, to com­mer­cial ve­hi­cles to agri­cul­tural equip­ment and oth­ers, the most im­por­tant as­pect has been the abil­ity to con­ceive a sus­tain­able mo­bil­ity so­lu­tion with min­i­mum car­bon foot­print.

Di­nesh Tyagi, Di­rec­tor, ICAT ad­dress­ing the gath­er­ing

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