Everything We Need To Know About Bharat Stage (BS6) Norms

Image Credit: Reuters

At a crucial point in the Indian automotive industry, when we are moving towards environment-friendly options like EVs and hybrid vehicles, the government has also started implementing stricter emission norms. Government of India has announced new emission norms called Bharat Stage 6 emission norms. First of all, we are going to see everything we need to know about BS6 norm.

What are Bharat Stage Emission norms?

Bharat stage Emission Standards are emission standards, first introduced in 2000, instituted by the Government of India to regulate the output of air pollutants from internal combustion engines in motor vehicles. So basically these norms were introduced to keep pollution in check. And since then progressively stricter norms have been rolled. Like BS2 in 2005, BS3 in 2010, with stage 4 norms rolled out in 2017. All new vehicles manufactured after the implementation of these regulations have to be compliant with it.

So these norms provide all the rules and regulation for the manufactures and they have to produce their vehicles according to these norms. These regulations try to limit the release of air pollutants such as nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons, particulate matter (PM) and sulphur oxides from vehicles.

What Are The Bharat Stage 6 (BS-VI) Norms?

Bharat Stage VI is the sixth mandate for vehicular emission standard that will bring much-needed changes in the Indian automobile industry in terms of pollutant emissions. BS 6 is a stricter, more restrictive norm that will definitely give a  push to India’s battle with the air pollution. At a moment India lags behind all the developed countries and advanced automobile markets by almost 5- 10 years. With the BS6 norm coming into effect, India will come at par with these countries.

Bharat Stage VI norms include a wide list of technology modifications under the hood, most important will be the reduction in sulphur traces in fuel by 5 times.

India is currently following BS 4 norms that were adopted in 2017 across the country. In 2016, the Indian government announced that the country would skip the BS-V norms altogether and adopt BS-VI norms by 2020.

Why Is India skipping BS V Norms?

India is a 2nd most populated country in the world & one the largest growing automobile market in the world but it has taken a toll on our environment. According to reports, there are 7 Indian cities in the list of top 20 most polluted cities in the world. In Delhi, Particulate Matter 2.5 level is more than 6 times the prescribed level by WHO.

Vehicular emission is a major contributor to air pollution. Emission of NOx, SO2, COand particulate matter is taking a toll on people’s health. This warranted the need for a stricter norm that could reduce the emissions considerably.

As I said earlier, The implementation of progressive emission standards in India has generally lagged behind equivalent EU standards by about 5 years in major cities and 10 years nationwide. If we have opted for BS5 norms it would have been rolled out by 2021 & BS6 would have taken 2024 for its implementation. But jump to Bharat Stage 6 norms by 2020 had to be planned to control the exceeding pollution in the country

Advantages Of BS-IV?

  • The norm will bring a change in the fuel, as the BS6 compliant engine require BS6 fuel.
  • A most important difference between BS6 fuel and the outgoing BS4 fuel is that the BS6 fuel contains 5 times fewer sulphur traces (10 parts per million) compared to BS4 (50 ppm)
  • The Particulate Matter (PM) emission will see a substantial decrease of 80% in diesel engines.
  • Nitrogen oxides emission will come down by approximately 25% for the petrol engine and 68% for the diesel engines.
  • On-board diagnostics (OBD) will become mandatory for every vehicle, and it will help monitor the pollution caused by the vehicle in real-time.
  • For the first time emission can be measured in real-world conditions and not just under test conditions. due to the introduction of RDE (Real Driving Emission).

What Are The Challenges Regarding BS-VI?

Though It all sounds so good for the environment & people, it’s a herculean task for the manufacturers to make their vehicles compliant to BS 6 norms.

Firstly, manufacturers have to clear their BS4 stock till 1 April 2020, as per the recent judgment by the Supreme Court.

Secondly, Billions of rupees have been invested in technology, research & development to make BS6 compatible Engines. This has put pressure on the manufacturers & rethink their strategy and make some tough call of phasing out some of their vehicles because of their financial non-viability. In fact, due to non-compliancy, the Diesel engine has taken a massive hit with sales dropping to an all-time low.

Confusion Regarding BS-VI Fuel

Can BS4 cars run of BS6 fuel?

 Yes for petrol vehicles, You don’t have to worry too much, because BS4 petrol & BS6 petrol has little difference in chemical composition, so your petrol BS4 car should work fine with BS6 petrol.

 No for Diesel vehicles, Here things get a little bit tricky. BS4 diesel had a much higher Sulphur traces (50 ppm), as compared  BS6 (10 ppm). Sulphur in diesel cars acts as a lubricant for diesel injector. So using BS6 diesel engine will wear out quickly because of less (Sulphur)lubrication

Can BS6 car run on BS4 fuel?

Again, yes for Petrol vehicles. Because of their similar chemical composition, your BS6 petrol car can run on BS4 fuel without much issue.

No for Diesel vehicles. For diesel-powered cars, using BS4 fuel in a BS6 vehicle can cause a lot of problems. As BS6 engines have been re-engineered with sophisticated electronics and a re-developed exhaust system, DPF (Diesel Particulate Filter) and SCR (Selective Catalytic Reduction). Using BS4 diesel which contains very high sulphur content eventually clogging up the diesel particulate filter & will affect the fuel efficiency.

Impact On Buyers

As we have discussed earlier, moving to Bharat Stage 6 level emission norms is an expensive affair for the automobile manufactures and they will eventually pass this additional cost to the customers. Due to this, Some of the Analysts claim car prices to soar up by 10%-15% after the BS6 upgrade. Also BS6 compliant fuel will be more expensive than the current BS4 fuel.

 The Way Forward

The shift to BS6 is definitely a turning point for the Indian auto industry. Many manufacturers have already started to phase out some of the diesel cars from their portfolio because of their financial non-viability in BS6 era. And started making new engines that will contribute to the cleaner & safer environment.

But having all said and done one thing is for sure when BS6 arrives in 2020, the Indian automotive industry that would have taken a giant leap towards the better tomorrow.

Similar Posts

Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below