India Implements New Emission Test Rules for Vehicles Under BS VI Norms

The Indian government has notified updated test procedures and requirements for vehicle manufacturers seeking regulatory approval under the country’s strict Bharat Stage VI (BS VI) emission standards. The new testing guidelines provide clarity around allowable fuels and sampling methods for various vehicle types aiming to limit tailpipe pollution.

What are BS VI Norms?

Introduced nationwide on April 1, 2020, India’s BS VI emission rules are among the toughest in the world. They mandate significantly lower limits on dangerous fine particulate matter (PM) and nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions compared to previous BS IV standards.

All new vehicles sold in India must hold BS VI certification demonstrating compliance with prescribed emissions caps through standardized laboratory tests before receiving approval for mass production and sales.

The program aims to meaningfully improve air quality by forcing automakers to adopt advanced emissions control technologies, including catalytic converters, diesel particulate filters and refined engine combustion strategies.

Key Aspects of New BS VI Test Regulations

The updated BS VI test procedures notification from India’s Transport Ministry covers several key areas:

  • Test Fuels -Vehicles can seek certification using either gasoline blended with 10% ethanol (E10) or 20% ethanol (E20). Biodiesel blends up to 7% with diesel are permitted, while higher blends require testing against neat biodiesel fuel.
  • Tailpipe Tests – All bi-fuel flex vehicles must undergo testing for both gaseous and particulate matter emissions in both fuel modes. Hybrids and hydrogen vehicles need only measure nitrogen oxide levels.
  • Particulate Matter – PM mass and number limits only apply to cars with direct-injection engines. This testing can demonstrate excessive emissions from inefficient fuel combustion.
  • Test Cycles – Emission sampling begins at engine startup and continues over a simulated driving cycle with a maximum speed of 90 km/hr, typical of Indian city road conditions.
  • Conformity Checks – Random parallel tests on a minimum 50% sample of a vehicle model’s annual production must match certification values to ensure ongoing compliance.

Impact on Automakers and Consumers

The notification provides clarity to automakers on allowable fuels and test parameters for seeking timely BS VI certification. However, the enhanced conformity testing raises the bar on maintaining strict emissions control after vehicle models enter the mass market.

For consumers, while expanding ethanol blending in gasoline has economic implications, BS VI vehicles deliver major air quality benefits over older models through radically lower emissions. But their sophisticated engines remain sensitive to fuel quality, meaning use of adulterated black market fuel can easily sabotage emissions performance.



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