On safety and emissions of quadricycles:
Let us take both issues. Emission and safety. Dinesh Mohan who is the principal authority on transportation, said in his presentation to SIAM (the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers) in September 2011 that 75% of road fatalities are people who are pedestrians, cyclists, scooterists, who are on motorcycles and on three-wheelers. So, basically, the cars, trucks and buses are killing them. So two-wheelers, three-wheelers are not the culprits, they are victims. Our thinking is that vehicles which are lighter, which are slower are inherently safer.
As far emissions are concerned, the emission of carbon dioxide is measured as per gram per kilometre. For a typical 100 cc motorcycle, the figure is 25 gm per km, in the RE 60 it is 60 gm per km, in three-wheelers, it is 85 gm per km, in a small car like the Alto or the Nano it is 100 to 120 gm per km, 150 gm per km for cars in the category of the Corolla, Skoda and for cars like the S-Class and the 7 Series, it is 250-300 gm per km. The question is, what has more technology? And, despite so much technology, why does it emit more?
So the regulations and norms are valid for a car if you are going in a car on a highway and needs lot of safety for inter-city transport.
So, safety and emission are not a technical issue but a commercial one. They (carmakers) fear that if there are smaller-and-lighter vehicles, it will affect their demand.
They are just fighting to protect their own business, which is right. If I were in their place, I would have done the same. There is no problem with smaller vehicles, but there is a big problem to solve, in terms of safety and emissions for bigger vehicles.
Indian two-wheelers have the lowest emission level in the world. But can we say that about Indian cars? MNCs sell 80-90% of the cars bought in India, why is that the cars that they sell in India are 5-10 years behind what they sell overseas, in terms of safety and emissions? And it’s funny that car guys are asking us to improve.
On the launch of the RE60 quadricycle:
We have not received the green signal yet, though the internal ministerial group has in principle decided that quadricycles should be allowed to ply. Now there is a long process for initial notification, there is a time to raise objection, after that it will come to individual states and they will decide and look at their requirements like RTOs. So, I can say this: We have got a yellow signal but still, it’s not green. We will have to wait.
On the lack of a level playing field:
If Europe can permit quadricycles for both commercial and personal purpose, I don’t understand why India can’t. Some have expressed reservations about quadricycles. My question is, if we hold the production of the product, will that be cooperation or cartelisation? I suggested that vehicle-makers should go to the Competition Commission together and ask them whether this is the correct way to think, whether this a good idea to hold back until company ‘A’ or company ‘B’ is ready too with its own product. So, when Steve Jobs invented a smartphone, did we tell him, ‘Sir, please keep it in your pocket because BlackBerry and Nokia need some more time to catch up.’
There is no level playing field in competition. One of the manufacturers in Europe has been selling quadricycles there, so why couldn’t they bring the vehicle to India so far?
We have worked on the RE60 for 4-5 years and invested money. And then, you are saying, ‘hold’.
All I want to say is that policy should be adjusted in favour of innovations and should not be a hurdle.
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