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Insights into Editorial: Downbeat diesel: on Maruti Suzuki phasing out diesel cars

Insights into Editorial: Downbeat diesel: on Maruti Suzuki phasing out diesel cars



Context: Maruti to pull the plug on diesel cars in April 2020:

Maruti Suzuki, which is the largest car maker in the country, announced plans to discontinue selling all diesel cars in the country from April 1, 2020, citing uncertainty over demand for such vehicles due to “significant” increase in price once the new BS VI emission norms kick in.

Diesel cars currently account for about 23% of the automobile giant’s domestic sales. During 2018-19, the company sold a total of 4.63 lakh diesel-powered vehicles.

In 2012-13, diesel cars accounted for 47% of the passenger vehicle sales. Now, they account for just around 20% of overall passenger vehicle sales in 2018-19. This is less than half the share in comparison to five years ago.


Eliminate diesel engine models: Due to Bharat Stage VI emission standards:

The diesel emissions data scandal involving carmaker Volkswagen dismayed many consumers.

Inclusion of BS-VI compliant engines will also lead to a cost increment of up to eight to 10 per cent. This has compelled various automakers to contemplate the decision to cease selling cars with diesel powertrains from 2020.

Given the prevailing economics and diesel’s reputation as a dirty fuel that adds to pollution from cars, buses and freight vehicles, auto companies see a weak business case to upgrade them.

The decision taken by Maruti Suzuki, India’s largest passenger vehicle manufacturer, to eliminate diesel models from April 1, 2020, when the Bharat Stage VI emission standard is introduced, mirrors emerging global trends.

The prohibitively high cost of upgrading diesel engines to meet the new BS-VI emission norms is why leading carmakers have pulled the plug on their diesel options.

The difference in the price of a petrol and a diesel car, now around Rs 1 lakh on average, could go up to Rs 2.5 lakh.

Although diesel has powered India’s commercial transport segment for decades, its fortunes are declining for several reasons, beginning with the narrowing of the price differential with petrol.

It has lost its shine in Europe, the world’s biggest market for diesel cars where sales of even well-known marques have fallen during 2018 by 20%.

In a variety of mandated and suggestive ways, car-owners are being nudged towards petrol and alternative fuels.


Problems with Diesel Vehicles in worldwide:

Diesel emissions pose hidden hazards. The harmful fine and ultra-fine particles that they contain penetrate deep into the blood stream.

Vehicle exhausts adds to the ground-level ozone formed from nitrogen oxides and hydrocarbons combining in the presence of sunlight, seriously harming respiratory health.

In Europe, the sale of diesel cars has fallen substantially in recent times.

In fact, Paris, Madrid and Athens announced prohibition on diesel vehicles by 2025, London made it more expensive for older vehicles to enter the city.

The focus should be on encouraging walking, cycling and using public transport.


BS IV engine change to BS VI engine: Following changes needs to be done:

Although the BS-4 car can run on BS-6 Fuel, but what will happen if you defer your purchase

Emission: Cleaner fuel as the sulphur levels will be lower and lower PF (Particulate Filter). Thus, the emissions will be relatively much lower than what emit by cars.

Also, your BS-6 Car will get latest Technology and updates including changes in Catalytic, Diesel Particulate Filter, Fuel Injection for better compliance to Emission. Care for Environment – you should defer your purchase call


Engine Performance: The Sulphur levels will be lower, thus acids as formed will be lower and also the engine oil live will improve.

Even the fuel would be much cleaner and thus care for better efficiency from your car in terms of improved Engine Oil Life, Engine Performance, Engine NVH Levels you will get all these benefits with BS-6 Fuel


Fuel Efficiency: Been the fuel in BS-6 regime would be much cleaner – the overall fuel efficiency can also jump in when used a BS-6 compliant car using BS-6 Fuel grade.

Safety Features: ABS, Airbags would be standard all across model Variants as sold from 2020. Even crash test regulations would be improved.

It involves Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR), which is an advanced active emissions control technology.

SCR converts nitrogen oxides to nitrogen, water, tiny amounts of CO2 by pumping in automotive grade liquid urea, which is known as Diesel Exhaust Fluid (DEF).

It achieves NOx reductions up to 90%. Tailpipe Particulate Matter filter is used.

This reduces the Particulate Matter coming out of the vehicle to the required level.


What changes do the BS VI norms entail?

India has been following European (Euro) emission norms, although with a time lag of five years.

India introduced emission norms first in 1991, and tightened them in 1996, when most vehicle manufacturers had to incorporate technology upgrades such as catalytic converters to cut exhaust emissions.

Following the landmark Supreme Court order of April 1999, the Centre notified Bharat Stage-I (BIS 2000) and Bharat Stage-II norms, broadly equivalent to Euro I and Euro II respectively.

The BS Bharat Stage emission standards are norms instituted by the government to regulate the output of air pollutants from internal combustion engine equipment, including motor vehicles.

From April 2005, in line with the Auto Fuel Policy of 2003, BS-III and BS-II fuel quality norms came into existence for 13 major cities, and for the rest of the country respectively.

From April 2010, BS-IV and BS-III norms were put in place in 13 major cities and the rest of India respectively.

Road Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari announced that the government had decided to leapfrog to BS-VI from April 1, 2020, skipping BS-V all together.



This outcome should be welcomed for the positive impact it will have on air quality and public health.

At every stage, the technology is increasingly more complex. To attain the specified super low emissions, all reactions have to be precise, and controlled by microprocessors.

So, for carmakers, skipping the diesel value chain at this point makes more sense.

Alongside the constraints faced by carmakers, there are also question marks regarding the ability of the oil companies to manage the transition, given that the full transition to BS-IV took from 2010 to April 2017 because refiners were unable to produce the superior fuel in required quantities.

Improving air quality in the cities requires a transformative planning approach guided by the singular objective of reducing the use of polluting vehicles.