On-road emission tests to be mandatory in India from 2020

On-road emission tests for vehicles plying on Indian roads will be mandatory once the Bharat Stage VI norm kicks in from 2020, for which testing agency ARAI is developing a unified test cycle.

The Automotive Research Association of India (ARAI) is currently working on devising ways to determine the on-road emission benchmarks at different stages of vehicle lifetime in the aftermath of the Volkswagen emission cheating scandal which broke out in 2015.

In December 2015, Heavy Industries Ministry had said the agency would conduct checks on emission levels of diesel passenger vehicles in India over a period of six months.

“It was explained to the ministry that we can take up that testing but as we migrate towards Bharat Stage VI norms, in any case, real driving emissions will be a part of that regulation,” ARAI Director Rashmi Urdhwareshe told.

Therefore, she added: “Our current focus is rather than doing individual vehicle measurements but to develop a test cycle based on which emission tests would be done along with Bharat Stage VI. By that time we will be ready with the test cycles, so that data collection has started.”

Elaborating further, Rashmi said: “We will be looking at the development of a unified test cycle which the manufacturers are expected to use in mapping their vehicles so that a user is assured that when tested in laboratory as well as when actually the vehicle runs (its on-road performance is in line with the test results).”

Asked if that meant that from 2017 to 2020 there will not be on-road emission tests, she said: “We are looking at the on-road testing but only for the purpose of developing the test cycle. We are carrying out the tests with the limited purpose of establishing the test cycle because it is independent of whether the vehicle is originally compliant with whatever regulations.”

She said the on-road tests will kick in by 2020 as “it will be combined along with the Bharat Stage VI norms”.

On the Volkswagen issue, Rashmi said the company had requested ARAI to authorise their recalls “which is based on change of software and change of certain hardwares of their engines for which they had announced a global disclosure”.

“Model by model submission has started and we have started authorising them after due testing,” she added.

Last year in June, Volkswagen had announced recall of 1.90 lakh vehicles sold in India out of a total of 3.23 lakh units that were to be recalled due to the emission scandal.