In an interaction with EPC World, Amandeep Singh, President LCV, International Operations, Defense & Power Solutions at Ashok Leyland, emphasized that their well-established sourcing and supply chain, combined with economies of scale, strategically position the company in response to the increasing stringency of emission norms
How is the response so far at this year’s Excon?
This year's Excon, now in its 12th edition, coincides with a peak period in the Indian construction industry. The substantial investments by the government, coupled with the increasing demand and the ongoing infrastructure projects, indicate a rising market for construction and industrial equipment. The participation of numerous foreign companies from developed nations in this edition of Excon highlights the opportunity for Ashok Leyland, as these companies seek localization and cost competitiveness. Recognizing the engine's pivotal role in these solutions, we have established partnerships with over 40 such companies, and more than 40 stalls at the event currently showcase Ashok Leyland engines. With stringent emission norms on the horizon, the number of such partnerships is expected to grow. Ashok Leyland is well-prepared, with our BS5 engines already operational on the roads, surpassing 200,000 units, covering millions of kilometers. Our established sourcing and supply chain, along with economies of scale, position us favorably as emission norms become more stringent.
Which are the new engines you have launched over here?
We introduced our CV5 diesel engines in response to the upcoming shift in industrial applications to CV5 standards next year. The two engines unveiled here, the H6 and H4, adhere to CV5 norms. Additionally, we have unveiled a 40 kVA genset that complies with CV4 standards. These are the latest products we have introduced at this event.
Are you customizing the engines to meet the specific requirements of construction equipment manufacturers?
All of our engines are produced in India. Currently, we do not offer customization for hydrogen engines. However, we provide customization services for diesel engines based on specific requirements, which is a key advantage for us. Our in-house manufacturing ensures complete control over the production process. Within our R&D department, a dedicated team of approximately 200 engineers works tirelessly around the clock on the design and development of these engines. We conduct 40 in-house engine tests, showcasing the rigorous quality control measures in place. The level of flexibility we offer to industrial equipment customers is, in my opinion, unparalleled.
How can measures be implemented to align the pricing of hydrogen ICE engines with that of diesel engines?
I believe the challenges lie not so much in the cost aspect. Comparatively, our hydrogen ICE engine is not excessively priced when compared to diesel engines. The crucial factor revolves more around the hydrogen availability ecosystem. The efficiency of hydrogen transportation will significantly influence the speed of technology adoption by both industry and customers. The key here is to provide alternative solutions, recognizing that a one-size-fits-all approach may not be suitable. It necessitates the development of diverse and innovative solutions to bring the pricing of hydrogen ICE engines at par with diesel engines.
Are there plans to export hydrogen ICE engines to other countries?
Absolutely, when there is demand. In the realm of alternative fuels, the ecosystem is evolving globally almost simultaneously. Once our engines are prepared, validated, and there is a demand, we will certainly export them.
What are the developments taking place at your end in hydrogen engine technology?
As part of our commitment to sustainability and the utilization of zero-carbon fuels, we have developed a hydrogen engine on the Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) platform. We have already conducted trials with this engine in our automobiles and trucks. At Excon 2023, we are also presenting it for industrial applications. As hydrogen availability improves in the future, the hydrogen ICE engine will become more suitable for certain applications compared to other alternative fuels. The key advantage is its similarity to diesel engines, a crucial characteristic widely used in industrial equipment. This means minimal changes are needed in terms of machine design, envelope, and packaging, while maintaining excellent performance.
Additionally, the capital cost of a hydrogen ICE engine is expected to be much lower compared to a battery electric solution. Therefore, some applications may opt for electric, while others may find hydrogen more feasible. Our technology demonstrator showcased today reflects our readiness in this regard. We invite our customers to explore the potential of using these engines as prototypes for their future applications, and we are ready to collaborate with them for this purpose.
What are the initiatives you are taking to align with the government's target of net zero emission by 2070?
Ashok Leyland prioritizes environmental sustainability, ensuring that all our engines comply with emission norms. We are actively developing innovative solutions, including zero-carbon products and fuels, such as the hydrogen ICE. Our commitment extends to operating buses powered by batteries and alternative fuels, aligning with the goal of achieving a net-zero mission. Additionally, we have plans to launch light commercial vehicles, which we announced during our 75th -anniversary celebration. Deliveries for these vehicles are set to commence in the next quarter. We are prepared to contribute to the country's targets as we work towards achieving our own set goals.