Based on our predictions we were the first to break the news in December 2013 that Bharat Stage 5 would be delayed by sometime. Our prediction seems to have been correct as the mist around the next generation emission norms are fading out slowly. The existing government may propose new intermediate emission norms before implementing Bharat Stage 5 and it would be called Bharat Stage 4+. This intermediate norm actually wouldn’t be considered as temporary since it may last well over till 2023.

According to revised plans, Bharat Stage 4+ norms is scheduled to be implemented in the country three years from now and Bharat Stage 5 probably in 2022 or 2023. Previously Bharat Stage 5 was scheduled to be implemented in 2015 while Stage 6 in 2017. Currently India is running on two emission norms namely Bharat Stage 3 and Stage 4. Bharat Stage 4 is in-force in 13 major cities while the rest of the country is running on Bharat Stage 3. Currently Bharat Stage 3 fuel contains sulphur content of 350 PPM while Stage 4 fuel contains 50 PPM of sulphur. Bharat Stage 4+ will cut down emissions to some extent as the report from automotive industry is aiming 40 PPM of Sulphur. Bharat Stage 5 would contain 10 PPM of sulphur.

To meet the 10 PPM mark, oil refineries would require huge capital investment for up-gradation; which is expected to be a whopping Rs. 80,000 crores. Such a huge investment certainly looks impossible for the time being and that is one of the main reasons why the new norms come into picture. The government is expecting the refineries to deliver BS4+ fuel somewhere in 2017, and the norms will be in effect only when the oil industry is ready to meet the demand of the population. Some of the OEMs are not in favour of the Bharat Stage 4+ norms as they feel that vehicles have to be customised for India to meet the interim norms.

The prices of vehicles are expected to shoot up next year with the government passing on a mandatory rule of increasing the fuel economy. The manufacturers would be keeping this in mind; design their engines, exhaust systems and other parts such that the vehicles would meet the new fuel economy as well as BS4+ norms. We expect the Bharat Stage 4+ to push up fuel prices as well. Everyone is waiting for the government to take a call on the new norms which probably requires some thousands of crores of investment from both automotive and oil industries. After all, we don’t want our cities to be like Paris and get chocked. The Stage 4+ would be the only one of its kind in the world.