2-wheelers may be asked to leapfrog to BS-VI norms

After four-wheelers, it could be the turn of two-wheeler manufacturers to leapfrog straight to Bharat Stage-VI emission norms after these companies introduce BS-IV in 2017. The government had announced plans to make car makers skip Bharat Stage-V norms last week. Two-wheelers currently follow BS-III norms, while car makers follow BS-IV. The government said last week that car makers would move directly to BS-VI from April 2020 against the earlier plan of April 2021. The year of BS-VI implementation for two-wheelers might be effective April 2020.

Earlier this month, the road transport and highways ministry had posted on its web site a draft notification explaining the stage-wise (BS-V and then -VI) adoption of emission norms for two-wheeler makers. It spelt out implementation of BS-V and BS-VI from 2020 and 2022, respectively. This draft has now been withdrawn and it is learnt that new composite draft for two-wheelers, three-wheelers and four-wheelers will be floated, bypassing the BS-V stage.

The new draft is expected within a week. "We had issued a draft notification for two-wheelers and three-wheelers stating the phased road map of emission norms. Since the ministry recently decided to leapfrog from BS-IV to BS-VI emission norms from April 1, 2020, we have withdrawn the notification. We will issue a fresh one soon," said a senior official in the ministry.

"The standards for the two (passenger vehicles and two-wheelers) are different, which is quite surprising. Pollution from all sources should be treated similarly," said an executive with a passenger vehicle manufacturer. The passenger vehicle sector, which is facing a Supreme Court-imposed temporary ban on registration of diesel vehicles (2,000-cc and above) in the national capital region, has given a representation to the court that two-wheelers contribute to one-third of vehicular emissions in Delhi, while passenger vehicles contribute only one-tenth. The data is based on the findings of a study by Indian Institute of Technology-Kanpur.

Higher emission from two-wheelers is the result of their higher share in Delhi's vehicular population. As of March 2015, Delhi had 3.6 million two-wheelers against 1.94 passenger vehicles (cars, vans and utility vehicles).

Vishnu Mathur, director-general of Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (Siam), said the association had been discussing the last draft notification with its members. "We will wait for an official notification before making a comment."

Hero MotoCorp, Honda Motorcycle and Scooters, and Bajaj Auto are the leading players in the domestic two-wheeler market. Hero MotoCorp did not respond to queries.

"Two-wheelers release four to five times more NOx compared to four-wheelers, which defeats the purpose of stringent norms for four wheelers. Motorcycles and scooters do not have exhaust air systems, which results in higher pollution compared to four-wheelers. Also, the number of two-wheelers is five times the population of four-wheelers," Kotak Institutional Equities said in a report last week. Kotak is of the view that the implementation of BS-IV alone will lead to a three to five per cent increase in prices and have a negative impact on demand. The sector is already facing a challenge due to rural pressure and is seeing declining volumes.

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