While there were several rounds of talks for mandating Air-Conditioning in trucks, the final outcome is, its “Not Mandated”, instead trucks above 3.5T category shall have only Forced Circulation and optional Air Conditioning. The necessary amendment in the Central Motor Vehicle Regulation is done and a final version of this was published in the Gazette on Nov, 20th and comes to effect from Jan,1 st 2018.
While Union Minister responsible for Road Transport, Mr. Gadkari, was pushing for full fledged truck air conditioning for last couple of years, finally its not happening and drivers need to settle with just normal ventilated wooden cabs.
What to expect?
This is a type of ventilation arrangement, in which air is forced through ducts or vents using a blower into the truck cabin. To facilitate this passages or cutouts shall be provided in the truck cabin for connecting the air inside the cabin to the ambient air for natural ventilation. They may be provided with louvers, doors or hatches for blocking and unblocking by the occupant.
So instead of Air conditioning, we may see inclusion of fans, openable side qtr windows, kick-vents, sliding rear windows, roof hatches etc. Inorder to provide, natural ventilation, every truck cabin shall be provided with openings such that the total combined unblocked area of all the openings shall not be less than 120 cm2 /m3 of cabin volume. Typical examples of such openings are front quarter windows, rear quarter windows, roof hatch, rear window, air extractors, kick vents, front panel vents or any other feature provided by the manufacturer.
The open area in the main windows of the side doors shall not be included in the calculation of unblocked area. Further inorder to improve the thermal comfort of driver and co.driver, we may expect a thicker heat insulated, fire retarded floor mats…
thicker roof upholstery in the cabin.
What about Trucks sold as Cowl Chassis
In order to facilitate providing proper ventilation in the truck cabin, Manufacturer shall provide necessary body building guidelines, so that during body building the same is adhered. Also in case of Cowl Chassis if manufacturer decides to provide AC, a type approved kit shall be provided as a kit along with Chassis, so that the same is fitted during body building.
While India is globally gaining traction as fast moving automobile market, we are long way in providing basic comforts for drivers in commercial vehicles. We also understand, certain transport congress have resisted mandatory AC in trucks, citing reasons of increased acquisition cost, though they are still suffocating with lack of skilled drivers for their trucks.