In layman’s term, engine of a commercial vehicle is synonymous to the heart in a human body. Everybody knows that it needs to stay healthy with appropriate rest time, also considering the base load and the peak load. Yet, it is one of the most abused organ too. Similar is the case with the "engines" - irrespective of the category of commercial vehicle.
Further, engine development is a process which has never stopped since it’s existence. It’s a cult community of geeks, designers, manufacturers, integrators and testers. Process seems simple – create hypothesis, develop, validate, iterate, re-validate, test, iterate… However, professionals follow this seemingly simple process and dedicate their lives to create dent in the sky with the “ New Engine Technology”.
Trucks and buses are predominantly powered by heavy duty diesel engines. However, Modern diesel engines are lighter and more powerful, fuel efficient and environment-friendly. Today there are two proven approaches to gear up for the change when India is staring at BSIV.
• Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) after-treatment approach
• Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR) with diesel oxidation catalyst or open filter
Which approach to work upon is driven by a number of objectives “Overall cost over the service life of a vehicle and the closely related factor of efficiency in transportation.” However, most of us are aware that the later objective in India through the lens of on-ground practical efficiency was being managed by “Overloading” against OEMs recommendations.
In today's time, the focus is also on further reduction in fuel consumption, e.g. by means of downsizing and downspeeding or evaluating alternate fuels. These changes affect component stress in the valve train system. To keep the engine affordable, components should be kept simple. Further complexity comes into play with the combustion chamber and maintenance of temperatures, charge cycles and electrification. To top it all, service life requirements need to be taken care of, considering how price sensitive the Indian market is.
So primary question is in the hands of engine R&D experts. When they begin, they first have to choose the approach to develop on. Answer comes from the market itself, which market is the engine being developed for? What is the outlook of the buyer? Has the buyer started to attach higher importance to overall cost of ownership? What is the infrastructure of the country?
In India, fuel cost is said to contribute to almost 50-60 per cent of operating costs, and SCR delivers better fuel efficiency compared to cooled EGR + DOC / open filter. This moves the needle favour of SCR in the Indian context, especially when viewed through the lens of lower risk on engine durability, emissions durability and better fuel economy. Is BSIV expected to change the game play? This is out there for industry professionals such as yourself to debate & decide and also charter the next course of action with the “Indian Automotive Heart AKA engine”
Join us at India’s leading Commercial Vehicle platform: Commercial Vehicle Forum 2016 (http://cvforum.in/) on 24th November 2016 at The Westin - Chennai where more of such trends will be discussed by industry experts.