Back to the future

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Dr. Dhananjay Kumar delivered a keynote address underlining the industry future at the beginning of Apollo CV Awards 2018.

Team CV

Beginning his address by describing the Indian vehicle industry as the third largest, Dr. Dhananjay Kumar, Managing Director, Electric Vehicle Program, Thor Power Corporation, USA, spoke about technological regulations and the industry future. Stating that the industry will continue to grow consistently for the next 10 years at double-digit figures, Dr. Kumar announced, “We will leapfrog from BSIV emission norms to BSVI emission norms, which are quite stringent, by 2020. This would be a part of the long-term market projections to comply with global norms, and not just in the area of emissions, he averred. Stating that industry growth would be helped by GST and a large investment in infrastructure, Dr. Kumar mentioned, “CV makers will have a big opportunity. They will have an opportunity to invest and expand.” Citing the Automotive Mission Plan 2016-2026, he expressed that the auto industry, which has a big share of the manufacturing index and in-turn the GDP, is expected to grow 200 to 300 times in the next ten years.

Stressing upon electrical mobility as the next big step, Dr. Kumar said, “The auto industry has to take lead in introducing technologies of its own to meet the requirements of the future. “Electric and alternate fuel drive-trains will play an important role,” he mentioned. Terming the electric mobility mission plan as ambitious, Dr. Kumar remarked that it is dynamic in nature. Presenting a macro-level view of how this industry could grow, the plan would address each and every aspect of the technology in terms of government investment, and how the industry is going to respond, he averred. Stressing on the emergence of safety norms. Dr. Kumar drew attention to the setting up of testing houses across the country under NATRIP. “This,” he said, “provides a robust evaluation opportunity for new vehicles.” Touching upon the arrival of the green urban transport, Dr. Kumar said that an ecosystem that complies with the new regulations will find a way. “Its arrival will mark the outcome of the investments made,” he expressed. Confident of electric mobility systems playing a major role, Dr. Kumar stated that the smart cities program is progressing with the help of a big financial boost by the government. The infrastructure created under this program will lead to the CV sector gaining well. The vision to have 100 per cent electric vehicles in public sector and 40 per cent in the private sector by 2030 would change the entire dynamics of the CV market, he explained. Drawing attention to the emergence of fuel efficiency norms, Dr. Kumar said that mentioned that the same is being introduced in India for the first time. “The other big policy on the way is vehicle end-of-life, and will provide a big boost to new vehicle sales,” he announced.

Light-weighting and design optimisation

While the vehicle end-of-life policy will affect three million vehicles by 2025, the emergence of BSVI emission norms in 2020 will have a big impact on carbon footprint. “The ambitious electric mobility program will put India on par with others as far as public electric mobility is concerned. The fuel efficiency norms will mark a major milestone. It will push the efficiency of the engines up. This, in relation to BSVI emission norms, will mark two extreme ends of the process,” mentioned Dr. Kumar. Until electrification is achieved, it may be very difficult to meet the process requirements, he averred. Of the opinion that the mid-point would be hybrid, and from there a move to alternative fuels or electric transmission systems will take place, Dr. Kumar said, “Another significant milestone would be vehicle safety norms. In the case of CVs, they will provide an opportunity for light weighting and design optimisation. “Stressing upon Industry 4.0, Dr. Kumar averred, “This will have an effect on the manufacturing processes and beyond.” “With connected vehicles set to become a norm, further developments to increase the fuel efficiency of vehicles, especially CVs, will be needed. The per km fuel charge in India is much higher than the developed world. The transportation cost in India is almost 12 to 14 per cent higher than the global average of seven to eight per cent,” he revealed.

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Stating that the advent of connected vehicles will help to bring down the per km fuel charge, and in-turn the transportation cost by streamlining of vehicles, Industry 4.0 expressed Dr. Kumar, will play a major role. He expressed that the move to alternate fuels and electric transmission system will be in relation to autonomous vehicles. Considered as robust and tested in isolation, in many parts of the world, autonomous vehicles, informed Dr. Kumar, will be driven by the ability to integrate various technologies in a vehicle that are aimed at a certain market segment. Pointing at the successful application of autonomous technologies in defence vehicles, submarines or unmanned aerial vehicles, Dr. Kumar citing an example of ABS, which is becoming mandatory in CVs, and is playing an important part of the safety aspect of autonomous technologies, mentioned that Automatic braking technology and electronic stability control system, which is also a part of autonomous technologies are finding use in CVs, and will reduce accidents. In India, the accident rate is higher. Work will have to be done in this area from a technology standpoint.” Confident of cruise control finding extensive use in CVs, Dr. Kumar expressed that technologies like night vision system, adaptive high beam, and LED lighting that ensures up to three per cent efficiency improvement will find use in CVs.

Cleaner fuels and an efficient ecosystem

Stressing upon CV OEMs and fleet management companies working in unison to help develop new technologies, Dr. Kumar cited an example of how every human being’s life is dependent on a truck. He mentioned that at least one item that an individual would have has travelled on a big truck. “Drawing attention to truckers making up to two per cent of the workforce in the United States with game-changing technologies converging simultaneously in a relentlessness hyper-competitive global marketplace,Dr.Kumar said, “The CV industry will be revolutionised within the next two decades.” Of the opinion that the CV industry is quite fragmented in the way it works with a large number of fleet companies having less than six trucks, Dr. Kumar informed that there are no universal software systems that could tie it all together. With a large section of the truck transportation industry not known to use software at all, in an environment where new reforms like GST are coming in, tremendous inefficiency will likely result, he expressed. “This would lead to drivers waiting for long hours to deliver or pick-up a load. The number of trucks running empty will also increase,” he mentioned. With efforts to create a silver layer of software that could be used by every segment of the industry on by many start-ups, a part of the efficiency equation will depend on how trucks are powered.

With medium and heavy-duty trucks said to account for over six per cent of the green house gases, many corporates and organised fleet companies are looking at cleaner CVs. Informed Dr. Kumar, “Companies like Walmart are looking at transitioning to a fleet powered by cleaner natural gas. Tesla has announced that it will launch an electric semi-truck in the next six months. The range of a battery pack could be the biggest hurdle, what with the Tesla semi-truck expected to have a range of 200 to 300 miles. Another obstacle would be the availability of enough charging stations.” Optimistic of the Nicholas 1 hydrogen truck providing an answer to the travel range restriction posed by battery packs of electrical CVs, Dr. Kumar said that a big opportunity will be provided by the need to cut down emissions of heavy-duty trucks. “A bigger advantage may lie in cutting out the drivers. Platooning could well pave the way ahead. It would also lead to cutting down the wind drag,” he explained. Otto acquired recently by Uber, put an autonomous truck on Colorado roads to deliver a commercial consignment of Budweiser beer. Autonomous trucks are also being used in Australian mines as well. Of the opinion that fleets of driver-less trucks will mark the future in the next 10 to 15 years, Dr. Kumar mentioned, “CVs will come to be a part of efficient networks that are not slowed down by human inputs. Opportunities in India will be similar to those in the US and Europe.” “Technologies that are emerging in the US and Europe will also find a way into Indian CVs in the next 10 to fifteen years,” he said.

Bus world

About buses, Dr. Kumar said that the application of alternate fuel systems like electricity and hydrogen fuel cells will happen. “Such endeavours will be incentivised to cut greenhouse gases and transport large masses,” he averred. Pointing at a bus panel made up of an active matrix, Dr. Kumar mentioned that not only do such technologies support mobility, they also add value. Expressing that buses will employ different powertrains and transmission systems, and would be far more efficient than those found today, Dr. Kumar opined that urban transportation systems will leapfrog. He remarked, “They will completely transform themselves in the next 10 to 15 years. The need would be to come up with innovative platforms and create an efficient supporting infrastructure”. “While autonomous buses will take BRTS to a new level, the need would be to tap renewable fuel sources in real-time,” said Dr.Kumar. “A plethora of energy sources will be available, and the challenge would be to apply them. A bus, for example, could have solar panels on it. There’s a good scope for hydrogen and wind energy in India too. The success of such technologies will lie in their implementation,” he concluded.

India Cold Chain show

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Cold chain logistics players highlighted their capabilities at the sixth edition of India Cold Chain show.

Story & photos: Ashish Bhatia

Held at Mumbai on December 12, 2017, the sixth edition of India Cold Chain show attracted the participation of over 200 Indian and international exhibitors providing cold storages, temperature controlling, material handling, logistics and cold chain supply solutions including 76 first time exhibitors. Spanning 5000 sq. m., the show saw the participation of big and small industry stakeholders and CV companies like Isuzu Motors India. Hinting at the growth this industry space is enjoying, CV OEMs like Isuzu Motors India displayed a reefer van and a dry box pick-up truck based on its D-Max pick-up truck platform. Ice Make Refrigeration Ltd., displayed a Eutectic mobile container for local frozen distribution. With a 12-hour daytime distribution and 10 hours of night time charging, the company positioned the Eutectic mobile container as an offering that will prove to be highly advantageous than a conventional diesel engine container. The Eutectic mobile container is claimed to have a lower vehicle engine maintenance time (no load on the engine). It is also said to be cheaper, and easier to maintain, therefore. Capable of being repaired by local technicians, the container, according to the company, helps attain zero carbon emission. Aimed at ice cream and frozen food transportation, the container panel thickness is 100 mm. It is layered with a 60 mm Eutectic pad and has a storage capacity of 140 C.F.T (3.95 cu. m.). Weighing 1050 kgs, the Eutectic mobile container is priced at Rs.3.90 lakh (exclusive of GST)

Hwasung Thermo displayed roof mount air-conditioners. These include the HT-050RT, HT-100RT and HT-250 RT, and are aimed at delivery vans. Reefer India displayed a refrigerated container it has built on an Eicher Pro platform. The PUF insulated container is suitable for transporting temperature sensitive goods. Its corrugated outer wall is made up of a 1.4 mm GI sheet (JSW make). It is claimed to be capable of withstanding rigorous weather conditions and is free from corrosion. Helpful in reducing weight, the container is mounted on a sub-frame. The door gaskets are of the EPDM rubber variety. The ‘J’ and ‘P’ type of gaskets are claimed to ensure a vacuum seal. Geo-tagged via GPS sensor, the reefer truck has its container temperature monitored with multiple temperature sensors for safe and secure transportation. Sub Zero Insulation Technologies Pvt. Ltd. displayed a comprehensive range of refrigerated solutions. The company, on a BharatBenz 1617R truck, displayed a reefer container. Highlighting the company’s design prowess, the reefer truck also hinted at the manufacturer’s ability to offer customised solutions. Solutions that include a choice of flooring, accessories and allied equipment. The company also offers dry freight boxes, eutectic systems and multi-temperature boxes. Its single continuous panel with steel reinforcements are claimed to be high in strength.

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Pointing at the need for the cold chain logistics space to mould itself into an organised playing field to achieve higher and better growth, industry stakeholders called for the need to tap opportunities in an environment that is fast changing. They stressed upon the study by Crisil, which was made public at a panel discussion on ‘Tapping opportunities in cold chain and future trends in the cold storage, cold transport and cold supply chain sectors’. “The study reveals that 91 per cent of the cold chain industry in India is unorganised. This calls for a need for the industry to organise itself. Only then will the acceptance levels among customers will go up,” said Binaifer Jehani, Director – Research, Crisil Ltd. She opined that organised players are finding it tough to compete with the unorganised players. Stressing upon the need for quality, Jehani said, “Customers will pay only when they see quality.” Stating that the cold chain logistics market in India is estimated to grow at a CAGR of 27 per cent, and expected to expand at a CAGR of 23.88 per cent in value terms by 2019, Jehani averred that the growth potential is high.

Market drivers

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A discussion on private equity investment at the India Cold Chain Show put it as one of the key emerging market trends. The other market drivers discussed were the entry of foreign insulation equipment manufacturers, refrigeration equipment providers, and the need of greater cold storage facilities and logistics. Touching upon the needs of the pharmaceutical industry, the discussion also included the allowance of 100 per cent FDI. Highlighting a study where several relaxations and financial incentives have been offered, the discussion saw panellists call for automation and efficient transport solutions. Delving upon the need for mechanisation in transportation and storing of products as well as commodities, which would lead to higher life-span, the discussion had one of the panellists stress upon a reduction in overhead costs. About reduction in overhead costs as far as refrigeration and distribution are concerned. The resultant improvement in cool chain supply management highlighted a panellist, would attribute to the introduction of safety, handling, designing, and operations for products and raw produce. Speaking on the sidelines of the fair, Anand Sen, Business Head, Future Supply Chain, opined, “The rollout of Goods and Services Tax (GST) has changed the game. Customers have understood the need to focus on core areas. The focus today is on consolidation and speed. These are exciting times for service providers.”

Market challenges

With over 3500 companies claimed to make the unorganised part of the cold chain logistics industry, the organised part accounts for a mere 10 per cent of the industry overall. Challenges include fragmentation, high operating costs, lack of small size reefer vehicles, and high ambient temperatures. With an estimated 5,381 cold-storages contributing 95 per cent of the total storage capacity, the need is to offer efficient cold chain services, and to improve the poor road conditions, mentioned an industry stakeholder. Another stakeholder said that the high number of toll nakas are leading to a loss of efficiency. With 36 per cent of the 5,381 cold-storages claimed to be below 1000 metric tonnes capacity, the talk at the fair was to impart skills to improve supply chain management, and to employ advanced technologies to improve the efficiency. Mentioned Shaukat Ali Farooqi, Director, Allanasons that there was a need to audit the reefer fleets. He cited irregularities that are prevalent in the pharma sector. “There is a need to monitor the temperature control and audit the reefer fleet,” mentioned Farooqi. He opined that ice cream companies and restaurants should demand quality that is no less than in the advanced markets.

Stating that it took 10 years for the dairy industry to reach where it is today, Jehani expressed the need for others to follow. Sangram Sawant, CEO of PescaFresh, drew attention to the interruptions at several stages of the chain between sourcing and last mile delivery. “For food safety and quality, the temperature has to be carefully and continuously controlled as well as monitored. This has to be done at each stage of the supply chain because most food products are temperature sensitive and perishable. To ensure food safety, it must be kept at an appropriate temperature at all times, and the origin of acquisition to processing, storage, transportation, and sales,” averred Sawant. “If this is adhered to, the food loss will greatly reduce. Food wastage and contamination will be prevented, and effective control of food quality and safety will be achieved,” said Sawant. Sawant also touched upon the need to bring regulations to create a pull. He spoke in favour of green technology. Mentioned a participant that there was a need to substitute refrigerants like perfluorocarbons (FCs) and hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) with natural refrigerants. The use of multi-temperature models in small cargo transportation is innovative, he said.

Internet of Things

At the fair, the Internet of Things (IoT) was the buzzword. A discussion on IoT brought to the fore the opportunities cold chains, reefer truck manufacturers and commercial refrigerator manufacturers could draw. IoT was cited as a crucial tool to efficiently manage the assets, make them productive and profitable. The discussion on IoT also highlighted how it could be used to precisely monitor and manage temperature and humidity, reduce energy costs, deploy predictive maintenance, and use Big Data analytics for actionable business insights. “The biggest obstacle is in its acceptance,” expressed Baasit Shukri, National Cold Chain Manager, Hindustan Unilever Ltd (HUL). Stressing upon the need to look beyond passive data logging, he said that the need was to use it as a standard technology even though it would increase the overall equipment cost. Co-founder and CEO of Atsuya Technology, Rahul Gandhi mentioned that the need is to make dumb assets smart. He highlighted key trends like the demand for real-time data and analytics, the evolution of predictive maintenance, and low powered and long-range sensors for monitoring. Speaking of end-to-end refrigeration monitoring, Gandhi gave the example of a reefer truck. He averred that parameters like location, energy, water detection and temperature through a GSM sim could be routed to the Atsuys Kryo Cloud, which in turn would route the push notifications to relevant stakeholders including the store manager, technician and the respective OEM. Gandhi also spoke about the key considerations for the implementation of IoT. Stating that global users of IoT for refrigeration include Kroger, BPL logistics, Hershey’s ice cream, Subway and Bayer, Gandhi expressed, “It is crucial to check the ROI before narrowing down to a technology. “The choice is between predictive and prescriptive models of data. One needs to filter down 200 data points in the case of a reefer truck,” he signed off.

Auto Expo 2018: Focus on Green tech

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The 14th edition of Auto Expo will focus on green technology.

Story by: Ashish Bhatia

Opening its doors to the stakeholders of the Indian automotive industry from February 08, 2018, the 14th edition of the Auto Expo will focus on vehicles and technologies in the area of bio-fuels and electricity. The biennial event organised by the Society of Indian Automobile Manufactures (SIAM) in association with the Automotive Component Manufacturers Association of India (ACMA) and Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), will have the vehicle display part at the India Expo Mart, Greater Noida, between February 09 and February 14, 2018. The auto components part of the show will be held at Pragati Maidan between February 08 and February 11, 2018.

Coming at a time when the regulatory pressures on the Indian auto industry are rising, the premier show will witness 24 launches and roughly 100 unveilings. Many new or improved passenger vehicles, commercial vehicles and two-wheelers will be unveiled at the Auto Expo 2018. With the implementation of CAFE norms scheduled for April, the new launches will stress upon the commitment by OEMs to build environmentally friendly automobiles. With technologies that hold the potential to bring down hazardous pollution levels, many Indian cities have come to face, the 2018 edition of Auto Expo will promote technologies that will influence future of mobility. Expressed Arun Malhotra, Chairman, SIAM Trade Fair, that the show will serve as a platform for the best mobility and technology offerings. “Auto Expo has emerged as a global platform for automotive manufacturers to showcase their products, technologies and vision. This edition, we are confident, will set new benchmarks in terms of mobility solutions,” he mentioned.

Enjoying the participation of automotive OEMs Maruti Suzuki, Tata Motors, Mercedes-Benz, Mahindra & Mahindra, SML Isuzu, Renault India, Hyundai, Toyota Kirloskar Motor, Ashok Leyland, Piaggio, BMW, and JBM Auto among others, the premier fair will also witness the participation of new entrants like Kia Motors. The Tata Motors pavilion, under the ‘smart mobility, smart cities’ theme will have 26 smart mobility solutions on display. These would support the Government’s smart cities vision by providing end-to-end integrated mobility solutions spanning commercial vehicles as well as passenger vehicles. In the case of CVs, Tata Motors will a new design language. Keen to bring global innovations to meet the mobility needs of customers, Guenter Butschek, CEO & MD, Tata Motors, mentioned that they are the only Indian automotive manufacturer with an end-to-end product portfolio.

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Unveiling a 9 m electric trolley bus in association with Solaris, and with an overhead charging infrastructure by ABB, at Auto Expo 2016, JBM is expected to launch the EcoLife electric bus. Claimed to have been developed by the joint venture JBM Auto inked with Solaris Bus & Coach S.A., the EcoLife electric bus has been subjected to rigorous testing in India and is said to have been engineered, designed and manufactured at JBM’s Kosi (Uttar Pradesh) plant. Using Solaris technology, the bus is claimed to have its body built at JBM’s Ballabhgarh plant. JBM is said to be investing Rs.300 crore in the public transport space spanning the next three years. A large chunk of this investment would go to boost the electric bus portfolio.

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Mahindra Trucks and Buses will showcase the BSIV Blazo range of medium and heavy CVs. The company will also display the new Comfio wide body bus based on the LCV platform. It is aimed at staff and tourist segments where the requirement of space and comfort are paramount. Mahindra Trucks and Buses is also expected to unveil a range of new ICVs. The ICVs will feature a new 3.5-litre engine. Maruti Suzuki is expected to highlight hybrid technology and its salient features at the show. It will display hybrid vehicle cutaways to highlight the working of a hybrid system in an automobile. Maruti Suzuki is also expected to showcase the Super Carry SCV at the premier fair. The small pick-up truck is available in diesel and CNG. Cummins India will reiterate its transition from supplying engines to offering complete powertrain solutions. The company will showcase energy diversity in terms of electrification of commercial vehicles, components and readiness for different fuel systems. It will display the new BSVI compliant engines at its booth

Marking a departure from conventional ways of the static display of motor vehicles, the 14th edition of Auto Expo, under the ‘Entire Mobility Eco-system’ theme will have a dynamic display. There will be multiple zones for different activities keeping in tune with the theme of the expo according to Sugato Sen, Deputy Director General, SIAM. “The focus would be on new technologies and innovation,” he mentioned. Said to be a part of the efforts by the organisers to add more excitement to the fair, a kaleidoscopic journey of the automobile industry will be a part of the theme. The organisers of Auto Expo will also have special zones. These will provide visitors a holistic view of the industry. The Motorsports Club of India, for example, will display rally vehicles and a host of memorabilia. At the auto gaming arena, the e-gaming society will organise an all-India auto gaming championship for the first time. A future decoded (VR Zone) zone will provide a virtual reality experience of driving connected and autonomous electric vehicles. Coinciding with the 70th anniversary of Indian Independence, the premier fair will also have a special zone. The fair will display vintage (heritage) and supercars. To make it more engaging, the organisers, as part of several initiatives, will display commercial vehicles like milk vans, army trucks, school buses, postal vehicles, fire tenders and refrigerated vans at the fair.

MG Group e-three wheeler

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MG Group will showcase an electric three-wheeler concept at the Auto Expo 208. It is engineered to meet the growing demand for transport and employs electric propulsion system and a composite body. Addressing the needs for last mile transportation, the electric three-wheeler concept, called E3, has been engineered in association with Greaves Cotton. Touted as a new age concept, the E3 is battery operated. The fully-electric drivetrain package from Greaves Cotton is claimed to help the concept deliver high performance and low cost of ownership. A zero emission vehicle, the E3 boasts of a superior power to weight ratio. The composite body helps to keep the weight down. It also does away with the threat of corrosion a conventional metal body of a vehicle would be subject to. Free of noise, the E3 is said to offer superior driveability and driver comfort. Also said to offer high passenger comfort, the E3, reflecting upon the capability of the various MG Group companies, could drive a distinct change in the three-wheelers segment. Indigenously developed, the E3 was conceptualised and engineered by MG Group’s in-house design team at MG West & Deccan. The E3 body is said to have been engineered with composite panels using VPI (closed moulding infusion technology). MG Composites worked on the body. It is a fully integrated composites producer with in-house design capability, pattern making, toolings and mass production facilities.

Busworld Europe 2017

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Busworld Europe 2017 was held for the last time at Kortrijk, Belgium, on October 20-25.

Story & Photos: Ashish Bhatia

Opening its doors to the stakeholders of the bus industry the world over, the 24th edition of Busworld Europe 2017 was held for the last time at Kortrijk, Belgium, on October 20-25. With temperatures hovering between 16 to 20 degree Celsius, visitors from the warmer regions of the world were in for a pleasant surprise. Kortrijk was never this warm some frequent visitors were overheard saying. If comments like these hint at global warming, they also point at the need to cut down emissions, and deploy greener mobility solutions. As if in response to this, the highlight of Busworld Europe 2017 was a diverse display of safe, efficient and green buses. Held over an area of 51,240 sq. m, Busworld Europe 2017 attracted 37,241 visitors. The premier show attracted 376 participants. Expressed Mieke Glorieux, Exhibition Director at Busworld, that the fair was moving to Brussels from the next edition. With the 24th edition of Busworld to be held in Brussels, participants could look forward to occupying twice the exhibition area of what they have been availing at Kortrijk. Despite expanding over an artificial pond to accomodate as many exhibitors as it could, the organisers were compelled to turn down the request of 90 companies.

Reflecting upon the most recent and the best in buses, Busworld Europe 2017 had 231 vehicles in exhibitor stalls. With more buses than coaches on display, the biennial show, for the first time, put on display 80 vehicles outside the premises. Said Glorieux, “We have had an overwhelming response from exhibitors. We have had 90 companies on the waiting list. We ran out of space to the tune of 10,000 sq. m. We have lost an opportunity.” Hoping that they will run short of space at Brussels as well, Glorieux stressed upon a healthy growth Busworld has been enjoying show-after-show. At the core of the Busworld exhibitions that are held the world over, including India, Busworld Europe continues to be the most popular. It reflects upon the changes the bus industry the world over is going through like no other. Highlighting sustainable mobility solutions and last mile feeder solutions, the organisers of Busworld Europe 2017, in association with UITP (International association of public transport) organised an International bus conference to advocate the benefits of public transport. The introductory session of the conference delved upon electrification of buses and coaches, and how the same could be mass produced. Drawing attention to research and innovation projects like ‘ZeEUS’ and ‘Ebsf’, the conference focused on ‘true’ sustainable mobility solutions. Over 450 delegates attended the conference.

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The Busworld Awards night (erstwhile European Coach and Bus Week) saw leading bus and coach manufacturers win awards across various categories. The Irizar i8 coach won the Coach of the Year 2018 award. VDL Citea Slfa Electric won the ‘Sustainable Urban Bus 2018’ award. Iveco Crossway LE Natural Power won the ‘Sustainable Intercity Bus 2018’ award. Setra S 516 HD/2 won the ‘Sustainable Coach 2018’ award. MAN Lion’s Coach won the prestigious award in the coach category. Mercedes-Benz Citaro hybrid of Daimler buses won an award in the bus category. Iveco Crealis and MAN Lion coach won award under the ‘comfort’ category. The design label award was won by Mercedes-Benz Tourismo M/2, BMC Neocity and MAN Lion coach. In the area of safety, the Tourismo M/2 and Citaro hybrid won awards. In the ecology category, the VDL Citea SLF-120 Electric and Yutong E12 won an award each. Alstom Aptis won the innovation award.

India Day

The India Day marked a round table conference at Kortrijk. Discussion centred on India’s passenger mobility, and attracted bus and coach industry stakeholders. Ananth Srinivasan, Senior Consultant – Mobility, Frost & Sullivan, expressed that the mobility market in India is booming. “There’s huge potential,” he mentioned. Drawing attention to the opportunities that global manufacturers could tap, Srinivasan averred, “The liberal policies of the Indian government are boosting the bus and coach industry growth. This is particularly the case with staff and school bus segments.” Drawing attention to a 2014 report sourced from the Planning Commission, ‘Transporting India – a 2032 projection’, Srinivasan said that the Indian bus and coach market peaked in 2000. After experiencing a dip in 2014, sales have continued to pick-up, and are largely driven the staff and school bus segment, he said. By referring to a recent study by the Society of Indian Automobile Manufactures (SIAM), which expects growth to continue for the next three years, Srinivasan mentioned that growth is expected to follow policy changes in the run up to Lok Sabha elections in 2019. Attributing demand in the Indian bus and coach market to inter-city transport space, Srinivasan expressed that inter-city fleet replacement (with State Transport Corporations at the fore-front) accounts for 20 per cent of the market. School, labour and sub segments amount for 15 per cent, he informed. Bucking the trend of cyclic demand, Srinivasan stated that operators are buying buses even during the off-season period.

Describing the bus and coach market trends in India as positive, Akash Passey, Senior Vice President, Business Region International, Volvo Bus Corporation, expressed that they are yet to see actual industry growth. “The challenge,” said Passey, “is to transition from high volumes to high quality.” MG Group executive director Prakash Kalbag stressed on the market’s progression from building bodies on truck chassis to building bodies on dedicated bus chassis. He drew attention to the government encouraging standardisation. Remarked Kalbag, “Bus building has been brought under the Central Motor Vehicle Act.” A Scania Group representative averred that the bus and coach market in India is yet to take off in terms of safety and quality.

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MAN Truck & Bus

Under the ‘Mobility of Tomorrow’ theme, MAN Truck & Bus AG displayed five buses at the Busworld. The Lion coach was the highlight of the display. The Lion coach is now available in 13 m length, and can seat six more people. Powering the coach is a 460 hp (D2676 LOH) six-cylinder diesel engine. Complying with ECE R66.02 safety standards according to Jan Aichinger, Vice President, MAN Truck & Bus AG, the Lion coach offers ‘efficient cruise’, ‘efficient roll’ and ‘attention guard’. MAN also displayed the Lion Intercity and City Hybrid.

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Volvo

With electromobility and safety as a theme, Volvo Bus Corportaion displayed a 12 m 7900 electric bus with the OppCharge charging system. The bus offers superior operate-ability, courtesy a higher battery power (three times more) of 250 kWh. The earlier model came with a 150 kWh battery pack. Offering a host of charging options, the 7900 electric bus reflects on the direction of bus technology development. Premiering ‘Thinking Bus’ tech (about how a bus can think and learn from its surroundings), Volvo showcased dynamic steering technology, pedestrian and cyclist detection technology, and bus docking solutions. Highlighting its intention to test electric articulated buses in Gothenburg, Hakan Agnevall, President, Vovo Bus Corporation, expressed that Euro5 and Euro6 technologies are the most sustainable from an environmental, financial and social point of view.

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Daimler Buses

The theme at Daimler Buses was safety, economy and comfort. The company premiered the Citaro Hybrid urban 12 m two axle bus; Tourismo right-hand-drive high-deck touring coach (two and three-axle); left-hand-drive Sprinter City 45 13-seat mini-bus. The Setra S 531 DT double-decker bus (Top Class 500) also debuted at the fair. Showcasing active brake assist and pedestrian detection tech, Daimler announced Omniplus, a service for Mercedes-Benz and Setra buses. Said Martin Biewald, CEO, EvoBus, that Omniplus supports efficient fleet operations. Biewald expressed that they are looking for higher localisation in India.

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EasyMile

French high-tech start-up company EasyMile displayed the EZ10 electric driverless shuttle. Autonomous, and capable of operating within a precinct or confined area, the EZ10 is aimed at last mile connectivity. The EZ10 is powered by an electric asynchronous motor fed by a Lithium-ion (LiFeP04) battery. Capable of attaining speeds of up to 40 kmph, the shuttle, measuring four-metre in length, has no steering wheel nor a front and rear. Either end of the shuttle can act as a front or the rear. Capable of changing the direction of travel, the EZ10 can accommodate 12 passengers (six seating and six standing). Easymile claims that the EZ10, since 2015, has been deployed at more than 50 sites, in 14 countries across Asia, North-America, Middle-East, and Europe.

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Scania

Emphasising on alternate fuel technologies like natural gas, bio-gas, ethanol, biodiesel, and Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil (HVO), Scania showcased the 12.9 m HVO ‘Touring HD’ bus; 14.9 m bio-gas ‘Citywide LE Suburban’ bus; electric ‘Citywide LF’ bus; 13.2 m biodiesel/HVO ‘Interlink LD’ bus, and a 12.8 m HVO ‘Interlink HD’ bus. Keen to offer tailor-made solutions to address the needs of different markets, Christian Levin, Executive Vice President, Sales and Marketing, Scania, mentioned that they want to make public transport safe and attractive.

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BYD

Elctric bus torchbearer, BYD unveiled an electric midi-bus for the European market. First of its kind from BYD, the midi-bus will be made in Hungary, and measures 8.7 m in length. Capable of accommodating 58 commuters, the low-floor midi-bus has a travel range of 200 km on a single charge. Other than the midi-bus, BYD displayed the 12 m ebus (first BYD vehicle built 100 per cent in Europe). Announced Isbrand Ho, Managing Director of BYD Europe, that others will find it hard to match their integrated supply chain. Stressing upon his company’s design prowess and capability as a battery manufacturer, Ho said, “Anyone without their own battery design capability will find it hard since battery is at the core of an electric bus.” Managing to carve out a significant presence in Europe, BYD is invading numerous global markets with a promise to offer green mass mobility solutions.

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Neoplan

MAN subsidiary, Neoplan displayed the Classic Skyliner double-decker touring coach. It is celebrating 50 years of success, and has found 5000 takers in various markets. At the Busworld, Neoplan announced the delivery of the 5000th Skyliner. Displaying a 13 m long two-axle Neoplan Tourliner, which is aimed at business travellers, Neoplan revealed that it will commence series production of 100 per cent electric city buses in 2019. Mentioned Jan Aichinger, Vice President, MAN Truck & Bus AG,“We will unveil a pre-series bus version of a Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV), and test a demo fleet with various European operators.” “In India,” said Aichinger, “we are waiting for a strong business case.”

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Yutong

China-based Zhengzhou Yutong Bus Co., Ltd., premiered a 12.1 m electric bus called the E12. Capable of travelling 320 km, the E12 is powered by a 324 kWh lithium-ion battery pack. Accommodating between 23 and 37 people depending on the variant, the E12 makes an attractive bus. Apart from the E12, Yutong also displayed an electric inter-city 12.3 m bus called the Ice12. It has a 270 km drive range, and seats 59 people. It is powered by a 258 kWh lithium-ion battery pack. Yutong also displayed a Euro6 12.2 m long T12 grand tourist coach.

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Anadolu Isuzu

Anadolu Isuzu launched the Novociti Life, a new generation low-floor bus that addresses the travelling needs of disabled people and elderly passengers. The 9.5 m Visigo coach the company displayed, measures 9.5 m in length and contains Mobileye Shield Plus, an advanced collision avoidance system. Displaying the Citiport, Citibus, Novo Ultra and the Turquoise, Anadolu Isuzu attracted a good number of visitors to its stall. It is anticipating big bus market to pick-up. Expressed Tugrul Arikan, GM, Anadolu Isuzu, “We want to build an export championship title in the midi-bus segment. We are targeting 60 export markets by 2020.”

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Iveco

Iveco showcased a new generation Daily mini-bus. Available in school bus guise, inter-city bus guise and tourist bus guise, the Daily mini-bus, in tourist bus guise, measures 7.4 m, and is powered by a 180 hp three-litre Euro6 diesel engine. Iveco also displayed the next generation Daily Tourys, Daily Line and Daily Start. The Daily mini-bus Blue Power range that the company displayed is powered by a natural gas engine. The electric version offers a range of 100 to 160 km with two or three high density sodium nickel chloride batteries that are combined with high-power ultra capacitors. On display were the Iveco Crossway 14.5 m low-entry city and an inter-city bus powered by a Cursor 9 diesel engine. Iveco also displayed the upscale Euro6 Evadys coach, and the Magelys.

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Temsa

Turkish bus and coach builder Temsa unveiled a MD9 tourist coach and a LD SB Plus school bus. It also displayed the TS45, and the flagship Marathon bus. Apart from the HD 12 and MD7 Plus, the company showcased an electric bus called the Avenue Electron. Competing in most segments on the basis of a diverse product range, Temsa, said Acar Kocaer, International Sales Director, is aiming at a 43 per cent rise in exports by the end of this calendar year.

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VDL Bus & Coach

VDL Bus & Coach (VDL) showcased the 12.7 m Citea LLE, 14.1 m luxury Futura double-decker (FDD2-141) and the MidCity midi-bus. Also displayed was a 18.1 m VDL Citea SLFA Electric articulated bus aimed at the Bus Rapid Transport (BRT) system. The VDL Citea SLF-120 Electric bus measures 12 m in lenth, and is a low-floor concept bus for urban use. The Citea LLE-99 Electric is a low entry 9.9 m bus with a start-stop function, and an integrated regeneration system. Suitable for city and regional operations, the Citea LLE can avail of rapid charging infrastructure. Despite proliferation of electric technology, VDL is confident of diesel engine technology continuing to play an important role in the future.

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Sileo GmbH

Sileo GmbH showcased a 12 m Sileo electric S12 bus with a travel range of 400 kms. It is powered by a 300 kWh battery pack, and can accommodate 108 passengers. Claimed to consume 0.7 to 0.8 kWh per km, the bus, with an efficiency level of 98 per cent, could be charged by plugging in. Capable of a top speed of 75 kmph, the Sileo is equipped with Standard Charging Technology (SL), which includes a mobile device to charge a single vehicle. The Dynamic Charge Matrix (DCM) technology enables the charging of 10 vehicles simultaneously. The 18 m S18 bus that Sileo displayed, has a 400 km range, and is powered by a 450 kWh battery pack. It can seat 136 passengers, and consumes 1.1 to 1.3 kWh per km. Sileo, at the show, also showcased energy efficient heating and air conditioning solutions for the electric bus range.

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Solaris Bus & Coach

Solaris Bus & Coach premiered the fourth generation Solaris Urbino 18 electric, Solaris Urbino with a serial hybrid drive, and Solaris Urbino 10.5. The Urbino 18 measures 18 m in length, and is a vestibule bus. It is fitted with a 240 kW central traction motor, and has a battery capacity of 240kWh. Charged by plugging-in or via a pantograph, the vestibule bus can seat 140 passengers. The Urbino hybrid bus uses a BAE HybriDrive, and can recuperate kinetic energy under braking. The Solaris Urbino 10.5 is powered by a 209 hp Cummins ISB6.7E6C engine, and measures 10.5 m in length. It can seat 23 passengers.

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Irizar

Displaying the i8, which won the ‘European Coach of the Year’ award, Irizar also showcased the 6s and i4H (hybrid). It also displayed a 12 m (ie) electric city bus and a 18 m (ie) trambus electric. The new virtual cockpit that Irizar displayed with a 12.32 inch dynamic display attracted a lot of attention. Keen to offer custom made coaches that provide the driver a comfortable working environment, Irizar is working on new engines. It is also working to optimise cooling, and on a new steering pump to achieve superior fuel savings. The company’s emobility subsidiary is working on integrated electromobility solutions. The new plant Irizar has commissioned in Spain, will build 1000 units per annum.

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Van Hool

Van Hool of Belgium manufactures approximately 1,400 buses and coaches, and as many as 4,000 commercial vehicles annually of which 80 per cent are exported. It offers a complete range of buses for public transport for international markets, ranging from a 9 m midi bus to a 25 m double articulated low floor bus. At Busworld, Van Hool unveiled a 18.6 m Exqui.City electric trambus (Glider vehicle) in the presence of The Lord Mayor of Belfast, Councillar Nuala McAllister. Designed for Belfast, the Exqui.City combines the flexibility of a bus with efficiency of a tram. It can accommodate 107 commuters, and has a range of 120 km. Van Hool also displayed a 14 m version of Exqui.City. Both the trambuses are engineered to run on electricity or hybrid (diesel-electric and CNG-electric) propulsion systems. The electric version is equipped with a 215 kWh lithium-ion battery pack. Van Hool also displayed the TX11 Alicron, TX16 Astron, TX17 Altano, TDX27, EX16 M, EX15 H and EX17 H at the Busworld.

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Cummins Inc

Cummins Inc. reiterated its ambition to become a powertrain provider of choice. The engine maker displayed diverse solutions – from diesel hybrid to fully electric powertrains. A fully electric powetrain that Cummins displayed, could be employed in either a full Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV) or a Range Extended Electric Vehicle (REEV). A REEV combines battery power with a compact engine generator, and is aimed at buses that ply over longer distances, and well beyond the availability of city charging. A battery pack of three enclosures (210 kWh) can provide a zero-emission range of up to 135 km in REEV. Evaluating battery lease programmes apart from the production of complete powertrains and ancillaries by 2019, Cummins is also looking at opportunity charging technologies.

Prawaas 2017: A show of the operators

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Over 3000 bus and cab operators came together to make the inaugural edition of Prawaas expo a success.

Story by: Ashish Bhatia

Over 3000 bus and cab operators found their way to Vashi, Navi Mumbai, on July 28, 2017. They came to participate in the inaugural edition of a bus and cab exhibition – Prawaas 2017, organised by their apex body, the Bus Operators Confederation of India (BOCI). Held at the CIDCO Exhibition Centre in Vashi, the fair, organised by BOCI in association with MM Activ Sci-Tech Communications, attracted over 120 participants, including bus and car OEMs, and many delegations. To be held at different locations starting next year, the inaugural edition, under the theme ‘safe, smart and sustainable transport’, presented an effective platform to private bus and cab operators – big and small. Visited by 10 international delegates, 80 industry experts, and 100,000 trade visitors, the fair saw participants showcase their products, technologies, aggregates, and more to forward their business interests. Proving to be the right platform for service providers, and those that indulge in training and skill development, the fair reflected upon the change that is taking place in the Indian bus and the cab industry. Expressed Akash Passey, Senior Vice President, Business Region International, Volvo Bus Corporation, that the event marks a turning point. “For someone who has been associated with the bus industry for the last 25 years, it is good to see operators working in the same direction and towards the improvement of the industry,” he mentioned.

Pointing at an ability to work together, and to provide high service standards, the fair provided the stakeholders of the bus and cab industry an opportunity to explore new avenues of growth, and possibilities. The coming together of private and public operators to achieve a common goal for example. Facilitating interaction among vehicle manufacturers, fleet operators, policy makers, NGOs, and innovators, Prawaas 2017 reflected upon global trends and best practices. Through the seminars that were held on the sidelines of the show, experts in the industry provided an insight into how the industry is changing, and how it is addressing the various challenges it is facing. Highlighting how operators are putting customers ahead of everything else, the fair, held over three days, saw participants voice their concerns and achievements. Expressed Prasanna Patwardhan, President of BOCI council, and CMD of Prasanna Purple, “The idea (of the fair) first germinated in 2001 owing to a service tax levy followed by a period of lull due to an abatement that followed in 2004. The recurring hike of the levy in 2014 led to us contemplating a national level representation.” The objective is to promote health, happiness and economic prosperity of the society through safe, smart and sustainable transport, he averred.

Change of perception

Drawing attention to the changing perception of public transportation in other parts of the world, Patwardhan called upon the government, operators, NGOs, and others, to come together to achieve a common goal. He opined that transportation is given priority as per the needs globally, and not as per the size of the vehicle, which is a case in India. It is because of this, that buses are prohibited from plying on some congested routes, he said. Echoing the sentiments of bus and cab operators in the country, Patwardhan spoke about the issues faced by them. In his inaugural speech, he urged union transport minister Nitin Gadkari, the chief guest, to look at three specific issues (one nation, one permit tax; elevation of maximum allowed speed from 80 to 120 kmph, and all-India permit to sleeper coach) faced by them.

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In his speech, T. Venkatraman, Senior Vice President, Global Buses, Ashok Leyland, averred that a solidarity of purpose was needed. “There is a sense of urgency today to transform the country to what it is truly capable of, and we are willing to offer all the support possible,” he said. Pledging support as an Original Equipment Manufacturer to BOCI, Girish Wagh, Head – Commercial Vehicle Business Unit, Tata Motors, expressed that the passenger transportation industry has specific set of needs. “BOCI as a forum will fulfil them,” he mentioned. Providing an important perspective in his speech, Passey expressed that India is the world’s second largest bus market by volume after China. He opined that an important milestone of building a bus ground up has been achieved by India. Touching upon key developments like a rising movement to rear-engine buses, air-conditioned buses, and towards a PPP model, Passey explained, “There is a need to benchmark with global standards. There is a need for a definitive synergy between the government, the association of State Transport Undertakings (STUs), and bus operators to achieve a common goal of improving public transportation.”

In his inaugural speech, the minister of tourism for Maharashtra state, Jayapura Rawal, said that buses are playing a crucial role in promoting tourism. Pointing at the Greyhound Lines, Inc., which serves more than 3800 destinations across North America with a modern and environment friendly bus fleet, he mentioned that the state will soon open 10 integrated tourism hot spots with all the amenities. Assuring reform in transport and the associated infrastructure, Gadkari, in his speech, said that the government is taking a host of initiatives in road engineering. Citing road safety as the top most priority, the minister averred that an expenditure of Rs.11000 crore was incurred on improving the national highways. Urging bus operators to deploy quality drivers on the job, Gadkari informed that 2000 driver training centers would be launched across the country in the near future. With stress on increasing the length of national highways from 96,000 km to 1,75,000 km, the union transport minister stated that the total length of highways has gone up from 5,000 km to 22,500 km in Maharashtra.

Quality roads

Assuring that his government will provide roads of international quality, Gadkari touched upon the use of cement. Roads of international quality will elevate operator efficiency, he said. Calling upon OEMs to build high quality buses, Gadkari said that the ministry will hold the respective OEM accountable for any lapse in quality. Telling them to refrain from offering substandard products, the union transport minister revealed that he has finalised the amendments to the bus and sleeper coach code. Stressing upon quality not once but many times, Gadkari called upon for the use of alternate fuels to provide a high quality experience to commuters at lower costs. Stating that it was possible to reduce the cost of bus fares by approximately 25 per cent with the us of alternate fuel, Gadkari reasoned a need to reduce the import bill of Rupees seven-lakh crore the nation incurs to import crude oil. Touching upon the use of bio-diesel and ethanol among other alternate fuels, the minister explain that 15 home grown companies will provide second generation ethanol. He Mentioned that the price of lithium-ion battery packs has dropped by 30 per cent. Stressing upon the need to go fully-electric, Gadkari stated, “You (OEMs) have to offer import substitute; cost effective and indigenous products in line with the make in India vision.” Keen to see the number of buses increase to 40,00,000 from the current 17,00,000, the minister explained that his government would encourage the use of public transport.

Awards

Recognising industry leaders, BOCI felicitated excellence through the ‘Prawaas Excellence Awards’. Contributions in the area of best practices, services and innovations were the hallmarks of the awards curated by EY (erstwhile Ernst & Young).

Conferences

Conference at Prawaas 2017 delved upon a diverse range of topics including passenger footfall increase, creation of uniform regulatory framework for ease of doing business, capacity building through skill development, and tapping emerging opportunities in multi-modal integrated transport solutions among others.

Mahindra & Mahindra

Mahindra Trucks and Buses (MTB) displayed a wide (2350 mm) body Comfio bus for staff transportation with a seating capacity for 40 people. Providing more shoulder room and gangway space due to greater width, the Comfio, available in two different wheelbases (4200 mm and 5260 mm), marks the company’s renewed thrust in the bus space. With a range of new buses expected from the manufacturer, including some on the new ICV platform that it is developing, and will be unveiled next year, stress is also being laid on alternate fuel te chnologies. IMG_6670 copy

Volvo Buses

Volvo Buses displayed the Hybrid city bus and the BSIV emission compliant 9400 multi-axle coach. Both the buses are premium offerings, and showcase technology in the form of superior comfort and safety for the commuters. The buses feature ABS, Electronic Braking System (EBS), disc brakes and hill-start among others.

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Scania India

Scania India displayed a 12 m Euro6 city bus. It is powered by a five-cylinder, nine-litre diesel engine that developes 280 hp at 1900 rpm and a peak torque of 1350 Nm at 1400 rpm. The 32-seat low-floor bus is equipped with a six-speed ZF ecolife transmission with an integrated retarder. Suspension is pneumatic all-round. Other features include an electronic braking system, Anti-lock Braking System (ABS), Electronic Stability Program (ESP) and a reverse camera.

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ICICI Bank

Putting up an attractive display, ICICI Bank highlighted its CV funding schemes, which promise quicker processing, flexible repayment and up to 100 per cent funding on the chassis.

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Ashok Leyland

Ashok Leyland displayed a 36-seat 130 hp BSIV Lynx Smart and 160 hp Viking staff bus. The company also displayed a 225 hp Freedom front-engine inter-city ‘comfort’ coach. The Freedom can seat up to 41 people depending upon the configuration an operator chooses.

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Force Motors

Force Motors displayed Traveller passenger vehicle variants including the one that was customised by Pinnacle Modify. The company also displayed the BSIV Trax range of utility vehicles.

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Tata Motors

Tata Motors showcased a wide range of its smart city commercial vehicle offerings. These included the Ultra electric bus, the Magic and the Magic Iris electric passenger vehicles.

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VE Commercial Vehicles

VE Commercial Vehicles (VECV) displayed the Skyline Pro midi-bus (AC). The company also displayed a 16-tonne staff bus with an Automated Manual Transmission (AMT).

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MG Group

Announcing that it will build sleeper coach for Scania on its 14.8 m multi-axle bus chassis, the MG Group displayed its tarmac coach ‘Columbus’, highlighting an OEM play. The MG Group also displayed a ‘Shivshahi’ inter-city 12 m front-engine mid-premium bus built for MSRTC. Based on a 180 hp Tata LPO bus chassis, the ‘Shivshahi’ bus order amounts to 250 units. As per the agreement, MG Group will transfer the design of the bus to MSRTC. Confident of the Mammoth premium front-engine bus project in association with MAN achieving greater success, MG Group is banking on tarmac coach to invade a special application market not only in India, but also the world over. The Columbus complies with international tarmac coach manual, and is a modular design.

Veera

Bangalore-based Veera Vahana Udyog Pvt. Ltd., displayed the Veera Samrat 12 m high-deck sleeper coach. Indicating an OEM play with key components like engine, transmission and axles sourced from the respective suppliers the Samrat, also called as C7, marks an important milestone in the history of the company. Having 30 berths, the bus weighs 16.2-tonne. A front-engine design powered by a 230 hp Cummins BS5.9 series engine and a six-speed manual transmission, the sleeper coach complies with the sleeper coach code. It features Wavellar spring type suspension at the front. Rear suspension is pneumatic. Creature comfort is dialed by JTAC (Astro-540) AC, stylish and comfortable sleeping berths, CCTV, infotainment systems, navigation guiding lights, charging points, reading-lamps and an emergency exit door at the rear. Veera Vahana also displayed a school bus in ‘left hand drive’ guise for the Middle East markets.

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Wabco India

The highlight of Wabco India was its AMT technology. The company displayed a Tata Marcopolo staff bus bus with AMT. Finding use on buses dveleoped by a host of manufacturers in India, including Tata Motors and Ashok Leyland the AMT setup includes an ECU that communicates with the engine ECU. An hydraulic shift unit, mechatronic in nature executes shifts. Elevating safety by reducing driver fatigue and elevating fuel efficiency by selecting optimal gear ratios, AMT is cost effective when compared to an automatic transmission.

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KPIT

KPIT displayed ARAI certified Intelligent Transport System (ITS) for JNNURM II compliant buses. It comprises of a gamut of technologies that are said to facilitate better passenger travel experience. These include automatic vehicle location, over the air calibration, Passenger Information System (PIS), surveillance camera, emergency voice calling, ETM interface and Vehicle Health Monitoring & Diagnostics (VHMD).

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Eberspächer

Eberspächer Sütrak Bus Climate Control Systems India Pvt. Ltd., showcased a new air conditioning system meant for large buses (AC332). The company also showcased an AC for the mini bus segment manufactured at its Bengaluru facility.

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JTAC

Jingyi Trans Climate Control System India (P) Ltd., (JTAC) displayed a Snow Leopard AC series. The company specialises in the manufacture of a wide range of ACs for inter-city, intra-city, sleeper coach, staff, school and special application buses. With emphasis on an efficient support network to ensure a positive user experience, the company is looking to ride the growth wave in buses.

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Hiager India

Hiager India Air Conditioning Pvt. Ltd. displayed a bus AC model for 12 m and 14 m coaches. The company offers bus ACs in the 12 kW to 43 kW range. Suitable for use in five-metre to 14 m long buses, the ACs the company offers are claimed to be backed by an efficient support network.

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Pricol Ltd.

Pricol showcased its range of speed governors at the fair. These are aimed at addressing the regulatory need for fitting of speed governors of buses so that they do not exceed a stipulated maximum speed and compromise safety. The range consists of a DC motor type (single speed) governor and a fuel solenoid type (single speed and dual speed) governor. The latter features a micro-controller based design, and is claimed to not cause a reduction in the fuel flow to the engine ensuring full power to it.

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Allison Transmission

Allison displayed a cutaway of the auto transmission it offers. Claimed to elevate fuel efficiency, safety, and reliability by eliminating the shocks suffered by a manual transmission driveline every time the transfer of power is interrupted and re-introduced, the company caters to the need of truck, bus and defence vehicle manufacturers and users. Combining advanced features like ABS and EBS compatible integral retarders, the company has developed the T180 auto transmission model especially for the Indian market. It is deployed in front-engine buses plying in various cities in India, including the BRT buses in Ahmedabad.

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Hella India Lighting Ltd.

Hella India Lighting Ltd. displayed a host of products it supplies to the bus industry. Of particular interest were the halogen, xenon and LED lamps on display. The company immersed LED lamps in a tank of water to demonstrate their ability to work even under the most severe conditions without fail.

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Wheels India

Wheels India Ltd., displayed control and specialty products like leveling valve, electronic controlled air suspension and the electronic kneeling system among others.

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ACMA Automechanika New Delhi

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Auto component players from the world over marked their presence at the trade fair.

Story & Photos:

Bhargav TS

The third edition of ACMA Automechanika New Delhi once again reinforced its position as an effective sourcing and networking platform for auto components players from India and the world over. Attracting 552 exhibitors from 17 countries, the fair proved to be a good platform to highlight the latest trends in the aftermarket. Facilitating serious business discussions, the four-day event saw auto components manufacturers showcase their innovations as well as their rising capabilities. Held at Delhi as the name would aptly suggest, the biennial fair saw wholesalers, distributors, traders, and components manufacturers, speak about the present and the future; about synergies and their plans to grow. With latest advancements and solutions in the fields of parts, systems, tuning, workshop equipment, bodywork and paintwork, car wash, IT and management, and automobile services on display, the third edition of the fair saw higher participation as compared to the earlier edition of the fair. Companies like Schaeffler Group, Ample Autotech, Elofic, ZF India, Shriram Pistons, Valeo India, Mansons, Liqui Moly, and ACDelco among others, turned the fair into an important event for the auto industry. Expressed Rattan Kapoor, President, ACMA, during his inaugural speech, “ACMA Automechanika showcases the prowess of the industry. It enables international players to source from India, both products and technologies, and create an opportunity for business alliances.” Opined Michael Johannes, Vice President, Brand Management Automechanika, MesseFrankfurt Exhibition GmbH, “Since its debut in 2013, ACMA Automechanika New Delhi has grown in quantity and quality. This shows the great potential the Indian automotive market has, and the interest in it.”

20170324_134643 copyRecording a 40 per cent increase in international participation this year, the fair had six dedicated pavilions representing China, Germany, Korea, Singapore, Taiwan and UK. There were also the individual overseas participants who represented Hong Kong, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, Poland, Russia, Thailand, UAE and the USA. Marking a 28 per cent increae in exhibitors, and 25 per cent increase in exhibition space over the 215 edition, 15,150 business visitors made it to the fair. A noticeable uptake in overseas visitors was observed, and turned the fair into an ideal meeting ground for various stakeholders of the auto industry.

Initiatives

ACMA Automechanika New Delhi 2017 had a safety pavilion called ‘ACMA Safer Drives’. It marked an initiative on road safety and use of genuine components. Visitors were sensitised towards ensuring their safety and that of other road users by demanding genuine auto parts. A two-day conference on ‘Preparing Aftermarket for Digital Economy & The Road Ahead’ looked at new online business platforms like ecommerce and mwallets. Domain experts spoke not just about the two online business platforms, but also about safer ways of doing businesses using new mediums that are bringing the world together, turning it into one single market. A seminar on the second day of the fair highlighted key trends in the aftermarket, and delved into the future of the aftermarket while looking at areas like telematics, alternate fuels, vehicle servicing, eretailing and GST. With the next edition of the fair to focus on the needs of the growing Indian aftermarket, companies made it a point to unveil new, exciting products that are reflective of the changing nature of automobiles as well as the way the auto components industry has come to operate.

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New arrivals

AC Delco unveiled a ‘Cabin Air Filter’, which is made up of a high-quality multiple fibre layer media, and is equipped to trap up to 95 per cent dirt, dust, pollen particles and other pollutants. The filter facilitates improved airflow and aids defrosting performance of the AC system. The supplier also displayed its range of aftermarket offerings. Said Rajesh Nangia, Director ACDelco India, “The new ‘Cabin Air Filter’ will meet the rising demand of a product that was developed keeping in mind the degrading cabin air quality.” Schaeffler India Automotive launched intelligent component and repair solutions in the form of a Dual Mass Flywheel (DMF), Self-Adjusting Clutch (SAC), Double Clutch Technology, FAG SmartSET and INA Chain Drive kit. Liqui Moly launched Molygen new generation oils for special protection against wear. Gaziabad Precision Products introduced new valve train components and other engine parts. Mahle International GmbH unveiled a new cabin filter with S5 broadband technology, which provides five-fold protection against pollen, bacteria, mould, fine particulates and odours. ZF Aftermarket promoted its Openmatics telematics platform that can help access data collected from the vehicle on a web portal with the help of a computer, tablet or a smartphone. The Openmatics Dashboard offers customers the scope to develop new ideas that enhance customer service. For example, faster processing of vehicle returns at rental car companies. According to ZF sources, Openmatics is a free platform.

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Featured products

Shriram Pistons & Rings showcased a range of pistons, rings, pins and engine valves. Its sister concern showcased cylinder heads, cylinder liners, connecting rods and filters. Allied Nippon displayed disc brake pads, brake shoes, brake linings. Delphi Automotive Systems showcased 11 product lines across four different categories, included steering, suspension and brake parts. Elofic Industries exhibited a wide range of filters and lubricants suitable for a wide range of vehicles, starting with two wheeler and going up to earthmoving equipment. Participating for the first time in this event, Oerlikon displayed transmission synchronisers and differential components. Jamna Auto Industries showcased its entire product portfolio including suspension parts like leaf springs, parabolic leaf springs, axles and lift axles. The aftermarket business constitutes 15 to 18 per cent of the company’s overall business. Climax Overseas Pvt. Ltd., displayed engine mounts, centre bearings, bushings, oil seals and gaskets, and filter components.

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Aftermarket study

In order to understand the growing impact of urbanisation, changing customer preferences and choice of vehicle ownerships, ACMA shared a comprehensive study on the `Indian Automotive Aftermarket: The Road Ahead’ during the fair. According to the findings of the study, the Indian automotive aftermarket, valued at Rs.56,098 crore (USD $ 8.4 billion) in FY2016-17, is expected to reach Rs.75,705 crore (USD $ 13 billion) by FY2019-20, a growth of 10.5 per cent CAGR. The comprehensive study delved upon vehicle parc analysis, used car market, taxi market, trends and size of the aftermarket, eretail and regulations. The Indian automotive components sector is a USD $ 39 billion industry, the study mentions, contributing around 4 per cent to India’s GDP. Taking a holistic view of the aftermarket business potential in the wake of growing urbanisation, the study highlights the shift in average vehicle age in India. Looking at changing customer preferences, vehicle ownership pattern, evolving taxi market and a rise in the pre-owned car segment, the study also looks at vehicle replacement patterns and servicing habits. ACMA’s knowledge partner for the study, Frost & Sullivan, conducted an extensive research through numerous interviews and collected data from various stakeholders in India.

Putting the current vehicle population in the country at an estimated 228.7 million as per the transport authorities, the study puts OE spares account at 40 per cent of the total consumption. The remaining 60 per cent spares are evenly split between IAM (Independent AfterMarket) branded parts and U-parts (parts from the Unorganised segment). The IAM-branded parts consumption is highest in the CV segment. It is estimated to be 50 per cent of the total consumption. The tractor segment, the study mentions, exhibits the highest consumption of U-parts at 40 per cent.

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As per the study, Maharashtra accounts for the largest number of registered two wheelers, three wheelers and commercial vehicles. The NCR (Northern Capital Region) accounts for the highest population of passenger cars, with Maharashtra a close second. As per the study, the NCR region and Greater Chennai have the highest population of two wheelers at 6.1 million and 5.1 million respectively. Greater Mumbai, according to the study, has the highest number of three wheeler registrations at 3,65,500 vehicles. The highest commercial vehicle registrations are in the NCR region, Greater Hyderabad, Greater Mumbai and Bangalore whereas Bhatinda and Ferozpur have the highest tractor populations at 72,900 numbers, and 71,000 numbers respectively. Of the total Indian aftermarket, the two- and three-wheeler segments account for around Rs.12,038 crore; the passenger car segment accounts for around Rs.18,970 crore; commercial vehicles account for around Rs 19,748 crore, and tractors account for Rs.5,342 crore. Gujarat, the study mentions, is among the top five states where replacement market demand across all vehicle segments is the highest. Maharashtra features in the top five across all vehicle segments not counting the tractor segment. The penetration of counterfeit auto components has drastically reduced from 36 per cent in FY2010-11 to five per cent in FY2016-17 as per the study. Their place has been taken by U-parts. The report highlights alternate fuel technologies, growing localisation of products and affordability of new-age technology as the key differentiators.

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Making Indian roads safer

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Multi-level education to play a crucial role to elevate safety.

Story by:

Anirudh Raheja

The sixth edition of Mahindra Transport Excellence awards set a high standard. Held on February 03, 2017, at Delhi, the awards, under the aegis of the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH), recognised performance, innovation and excellence in the trucking field. In what could be termed as a 14 per cent increase, 6164 case studies were undertaken, highlighting quality, positive change and innovation. The awards once again underlined Mahindra’s commitment towards girl child education through the ‘Mahindra Saarthi Abhiyaan’. The company also organised MSA Outperformer contest for MSA scholarship beneficiaries along with a short story contest to harness story telling power while making the roads safer.

Jay Prakash Singh of Bharti Bulk Carriers was felicitated with the ‘Super Outperformer Driver of the Year’ award. He was handed over keys of a Mahindra Blazo 25 for being a responsible driver, and for saving lives of people. Singh cleared the stringent psychomotor and psychometric tests along with a good understanding of the traffic rules. If Singh’s wining streak reflected upon his responsible behaviour and high regard for safety, a panel discussion just ahead of the awards ceremony focused on making roads safer.

Making roads safer

The panel discussion on making roads safer, moderated by Prof. G Raghuram, Faculty and Profressor of Public Systems Group, IIM – Ahmedabad, turned out be thought provoking. It delved upon the prime causes for road related deaths, and how awareness can be created to curtail such mishaps. Prof. Raghuram pointed out that over speeding is the major cause of accidents. He claimed that it were the cause of close to 41 per cent road accidents. The next cause, he said, was overtaking, at 32 per cent. Raghuram also drew attention to the consumption of alcohol by drivers. Truck drivers, he said, account for merely three per cent of the road deaths due to alcohol. “It is the driver, road engineering and vehicle that play a critical role in the transport ecosystem,” he added. According to Raghuram, regulations and other operational controls through traffic management system and police have to fall in place to create a safe ecosystem. “As buses handle a lot of passengers, it is important to take bold steps and create the necessary awareness across various platforms,” he averred.

Panelist Ravi Prasad, Chief Engineer – Road Safety, MoRTH, called for a need to reach to the root of every accident. He opined that every accident has multiple causes that are complex in nature. He drew attention to the four Es of road safety – Engineering, Education, Enforcement and Emergency Care. Stating that road engineering and road safety are of individual importance, Prasad said, “Despite being resource constraint, road engineering has moved at a pace that has left behind road safety due to numerous reasons.” “There is a gap that needs to be bridged through consistent and special efforts,” he quipped.

OEM role

On the role OEMs have come to play, Rajan Wadhera, President and Chief Executive, Truck and Powertrain Division, Head – MRV, and Member – Group Executive Board, Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd, expressed that the geometry of the vehicle plays a crucial role in a road accident. Stressing upon the introduction of seat belts, ABS, airbags and the usage of high tensile strength steel, vehicles are becoming safer, he added. Wadhera stated further, that due to various regulatory norms, road side body building of truck and bus bodies will be contained. Fully-built bodies will offer increased energy absorption capacity.” Drawing attention to Mahindra having joined hands with Savelife Foundation to make the Mumbai-Pune Expressway a zero fatality corridor, Wadhera said that the fully-built CVs will also influence a move towards stricter emission norms. Stating that the Mumbai-Pune corridor witnessed 150 deaths in the year 2016, Wadhera touched upon the identification of 2600 black spots that cause accident on the respective route. “600 black spots out of the 2600 black spots identified have been resolved,” he added.

Driver aspect

Lady truck driver Yogita Raghuvanshi and Jay Prakash Singh, as panelists, brought to the fore the driver aspect. Yogita drew attention to drivers being harassed unnecessarily for bribes. She and Singh stressed upon paying attention to the driver fraternity. It has been neglected for long, the duo said. Emphasising upon drivers often getting licenses without specialised training and tests, Yogita said, “Certified training schools are necessary to impart a sound understanding of vehicle size and manoeuvrability. It is necessary that the driver is attentive and has the presence of mind.” Singh stressed upon reducing the transit time for quicker transportation of food items. Said Yogita that overbridges across states are necessary as they minimise public movement and reduce time wastage in changing highways. Opined Singh that it is not the truck driver who is at fault always. He touched upon untimely vehicle parking on the road side that often causes avoidable accidents. “High beams make it uneasy for drivers to constantly concentrate on the road. Police and RTO in some states like UP, MP, Orissa, Chattisgarh and Rajasthan spell trouble for truck drivers. This is not the case in south India,” he added.

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Possible solutions

Prof. Tamorish Kole, Chair, Academic Council, Society for Emergency Medicine and Advisor – Savelife Foundation, and Prerna Arora Singh, Road Safety Expert, Advocate and Educationist, opined that a lot needs to be done to make the roads safer. The two touched upon following traffic rules. “Right from the top to the bottom of the pyramid, capacity building is very important in India of all the stakeholders in this sector,” said Prerna Singh. Kole called for efforts to prevent accidents. A five per cent reduction in speed can lead to a fall in fatalities by 30 per cent, he reasoned.

Take away

The take away of the panel discussion was the need to follow traffic rules and drive responsibly. The take away was also on the identification of unsafe conditions, and to immediately address them. The panelists came to conclude that there should be one medical helpline. Emphasising upon the need for right education at all levels and in school curriculum, the panelists called for elimination of system discrepancies that lead to harassment of good Samaritans.