The Central Government will soon formulate policies on alternate fuels like ethanol, methanol and other non-conventional fuel resources claim industry sources. They add that this is being done to bring down the crude import bill drastically. Sources claim that this was announced by road transport and highways minister Nitin Gadkari after an inter-ministerial meeting attended by Dharmendra Pradhan among others. As per the decision taken in the meeting, the petroleum ministry will formulate a policy on second-generation ethanol for approval from the Cabinet. At present ethanol is derived from molasses which amounts to an estimated 119 crore litres as against a minimum requirement of about 500 crore litres. With a supply of three per cent ethanol, and a need to mix 22 per cent in petrol, the shortage of ethanol is roughly 19 per cent. Second generation ethanol, made from raw materials like bamboo, cotton straw, wheat straw, and rice straw could help to tide over the shortage faced. It has been also decided, claim industry sources, that the petroleum ministry would also bring in a policy for production of methanol from coal.
Electric CVs will not require a permit claim industry sources. This measure will be soon announced by the government, they claim, to encourage a transition to electric CVs by operators in an urban environment especially. This would also include taxis, they add. The government at the centre is also said to be encouraging cab aggregators like Ola to introduce electric cab fleets. Claim industry sources that Ola is contemplating the introduction of 300 electric cabs at Nagpur as part of a feasibility run. It was sometime ago that Nitin Gadkari, road transport and highways minister revealed that Tesla is interested in making electric vehicles in India. In the face of government’s electromobility push, the removal of all permits to operate CVs is interesting. Gadkari’s ministry is known to be working on a scheme where state transport corporations can get all their old buses converted to electric vehicles as well. Gadkari is also known to have proposed various subsidies for electric vehicles.
The PSA Group and the CK Birla Group have signed a joint-venture agreement to produce and sell vehicles and components in India by 2020. The France-based PSA Group is the owner of Peugeot brand of vehicles, which include light commercial vehicles like the Bipper van, Partner van, Boxer van, and the Expert van. The CK Birla Group is the producer of Hindustan brand of cars and erstwhile light commercial vehicles like the Trekker and the Winner in India. The Avtec subsidiary of CK Birla Groups into the manufacture of engines to CV makers like Daimler India Commercial Vehicles. From a CV point of view the agreement assumes importance because the partnership entails two joint-venture agreements. As part of the first agreement, the PSA Group will hold a majority stake in the joint-venture company being set-up with Hindustan Motor Finance Corporation Limited (HMFCL) to assemble and distribute PSA passenger cars in India. The second agreement entails the setting up of a 50:50 joint-venture between the PSA Group and Avtec for manufacture and supply of powertrains. The manufacturing sites for both vehicle assembly and powertrains will be based in the state of Tamil Nadu. The initial manufacturing capacity will be set at about 100,000 vehicles per year. The manufacturing capacity for powertrains will cater to the domestic market needs and global OEMs.
Renault Pro+ has unveiled new range of electric Light Commercial Vehicles (LCVs) in France in the form of Twizy Cargo, ZOE, New Kangoo Z.E. and Master Z.E. The electric LCVs are aimed at satisfying a wide range of needs of business customers, addressing at the same time the environmental challenges. The new Kangoo gains a new battery and a new motor. It now delivers a range of 270 km New European Driving Cycle (NEDC) compared to the range of 170 km previously. The electric Master is aimed at fleets running last-mile distribution services in a city, and is equipped with a 33kWh battery co-developed by Renault and LG Chem. The motor develops 76 hp, and is inherited from ZOE. Master has a range of 200 km NEDC. The Z.E. Trip function found on the electric CVs lets the driver locate all accessible public charge points across European countries. The Z.E. Pass function makes it easy to charge the CV from most public charging points in Europe. Renault will unveil the new LCVs across 2017. It will also roll out a number of other connected services dedicated to business users.
Daimler India Commercial Vehicles (DICV) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Karnataka Bank to provide customised financial packages to its customers. BharatBenz customers will get access to Karnataka Bank’s 740 branches across India to avail of their finance needs to buy BharatBenz CVs. Aiding BharatBenz’s growing presence in India according to Erich Nesselhauf, Managing Director and CEO, Daimler India Commercial Vehicles, the arrangement will enable Karnataka Bank to reach out to more number of CV customers. DICV, in India, sells a wide range of BharatBenz trucks and buses ranging from 9-tonne to 49-tonne. The company also offers light, medium and heavy-duty buses in India. The heavy-duty bus is marketed under the name of Mercedes-Benz
MAN Trucks India has appointed new dealers at Vijayawada and Pune. The Vijayawada dealer, Asha Automine, is spread over an area of 56000 sq. ft., and has a workshop with five service bays and the most modern service equipment. Marking the inauguration of 60th MAN touch point in India, the Vijayawada dealer is expected to help the CV maker to carve a footprint is what is considered to be a key CV market in India. A 3S facility, Asha Automine has employed trained people to address the needs of MAN customers. The dealer at Pune, Bhagyodaya Automotive, has invested in a 3S facility spread over an area of 55000 sq. ft. This dealership is also equipped with modern equipment and trained people. Marking 61st dealership of the company in India, the inauguration of the Pune dealership takes the number of dealers the company has in West India to 10. MAN will appoint five more sales and service outlets by the end of 2017.
Meco Instruments has introduced a vehicle battery system meter for the testing of 12-volt and 24-volt lead acid storage battery within the process of starting the vehicle, charging the battery and loading the electricals. The design of the meter is such that it is operated with the help of four buttons. The result is available on a large LCD screen. Providing a hint of the battery condition by sound and light when being operated, the buttons on the meter enable mode change and test functions. Key features of the meter include battery diagnosis, battery condition display, loose lead detection and reverse polarity protection.