Despite the global shift towards electric vehicles (EVs), India’s automotive market, particularly in the two-wheeler sector, continues to be dominated by internal combustion engines (ICE). Recognizing the need for a sustainable transition, the Indian government is implementing significant regulatory changes to ensure the future viability of ICE-powered vehicles.

Introduction of OBD-2 Technology

Starting April 1, 2023, all two-wheelers sold in India must be equipped with Onboard Diagnostics-2 (OBD-2) systems. These advanced diagnostic tools, mandatory under the new BS6 Phase II emission norms, help monitor vehicle performance and emissions. OBD-2 systems, which were first mandated for cars in the 1980s, have now become essential for two-wheelers, featuring a standardized 16-pin connector for universal compatibility.

Enhancements with BS6 Phase II

The transition to BS6 Phase II norms involves not only hardware adaptations like the new connector but also significant software enhancements. These updates enable the Engine Control Unit (ECU) to effectively manage and mitigate emission levels even when sensor faults occur. For example, the system can now handle temporary malfunctions like misfires or lambda sensor failures without significant emissions spikes, ensuring compliance over the vehicle’s operational life.

The Role of E20 Fuel

Parallel to OBD-2 integration, the expansion of E20 fuel (20% ethanol blend) is set to reshape fuel norms in India. With a target nationwide rollout by 2025, E20 fuel presents both opportunities and challenges. Modern BS6 vehicles can adjust air-fuel mixtures up to E27.5 ethanol content through adaptive fuel-injection systems, ensuring optimal combustion and emissions control. However, the corrosive nature of ethanol demands durable materials in fuel system components, potentially driving up costs.

Implications for Older Vehicles

Older BS4 and earlier models, particularly those with carburetors, face risks from higher ethanol blends. These vehicles cannot adjust to the altered fuel properties of E20, leading to leaner mixtures and higher combustion temperatures, which could degrade engine performance and emissions quality over time.

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