From the day when BS IV is implemented pan India ie since April 1, enough debate is on, on which will be the frugal technology – either EGR or SCR? Unlike in the past, manufacturers are working hard in promoting the appropriate technology and are very active in social media as well. Videos, posters and many reports are shared by Auto OEM’s favouring EGR and SCR. While both the technology, has merits and demerits on operation cost and long term durability, fuel performance is one factor which can’t be compromised.
Ashok Leyland, which initially offered all its BS IV models with SCR (initially with Albonair and later with Cummins exhaust systems) from 2010, was working on indianised frugal EGR system eliminating some of the major pain points in EGR. Inline with that, Ashok Leyland has removed the Particle Oxidation Catalyst (POC) from the exhaust system. This means the choking of soot in the POC is eliminated completely, which improves fuel performance. Even by removing POC, Ashok Leyland has ensured the combustion efficiency in combustion chamber is still maintained. Also Ashok Leyland has followed a strategy of recirculating 10% to 11% of exhaust gas and this is also fine tuned continuously with the feedback from field. Due to lower recirculating percentage of exhaust and lower injection pressure as against conventional EGR engines, these i-EGR engines has lesser operating temperature. This means, there is no excessive oil consumption and oil change interval is same as BS III models and most importantly minimal change in engine hardware. All this coupled with lesser electronics, Ashok Leyland has claimed that these engines are simple and not much complicated for a average truck owner to maintain. Hence Ashok Leyland termed them as intelligent EGR systems.
Its also understood that Ashok Leyland’s internal validation on engines have shown better results and the vehicles were returning fuel performance matching or better than their BS III inline counter parts. Now its been couple of months post launch, we got some feedback on the operation of BS IV i-EGR Viking and 1618.
Viking 160hp i-EGR
Viking is now available with 160hp iEgr engine and is retailing at around Rs.18.5 lks (all weveller, Non AC). This is the main stream product in Ashok Leyland’s bus MCV port folio, and will contribute to nothing short of 55% to 60% of overall volumes of Ashok Leyland. Any product performance impact in this model will severely affect the overall sales, as this model goes to every single bus application in India starting from city buses to Intercity, Stage carriage to tourist and Educational institution buses.
We got access to fuel performance of BS IV Viking operating in a city duty cycle. This is running in one to one matching operating duty cycle and load factor to earlier BS III 160hp inline engine variants. Its noticed that the newer one’s have better and increased fuel performance upto 10%. In absolute number the increment is anywhere between 0.3 to 0.4 kmpl and the figure is between 4.4 to 4.7 Kmpl. No much of issues reported so far.
1618/1 180hp i-EGR
In trucks, Ashok Leyland has increased the horse power offering to 180hp in 16T platforms, from the earlier 160hp. The 1618/1 Cowl chassis which retails at Rs.18 lks, which is operating in fish transportation, is delivering upto 7% better fuel performance than BS III variants and is returning upto 6.3 Kmpl. For equivalent load and duty cycle in BS III, the trucks were delivering between 5.8 to 5.9 Kmpl.
Its to be noted that, Ashok Leyland had tough times during the launch of BS III inline variants in early 2011. There were many fuel performance complaints in 160hp inline engine variants, but Ashok Leyland worked on war foot basis to provide driver training and ensured the fuel performance was nothing but normal. Drivers who were earlier driving 114hp variants didn’t get the feel of driving a 160hp vehicles. Post driver training the fuel performance of those vehicles (Viking, Cheetah, 12m, 1616) became the benchmark and Ashok Leyland rode a huge success over them. Now in BS IV, excepting for minor issues initially, Ashok Leyland is getting some positive responses.
Though this is too early to predict the overall reliability and durability factors, the initial feedback is positive and is a good news. Ashok Leyland will build confidence on this initial momentum and may try to get more sales from this. Let’s wait for mid term report on them at around 1.5 lks Kilo meters after 6 to 8 months from now.