While conventional automakers are boasting of concept cars and autonomous vehicles at global auto shows, ancillary industry players are also working in the background towards future of transportation — emission norms, electric vehicles and digital integration in mobility.
Shell Lubricants, a global leader in making machines smoother, cleaner and noise-free, too sees an opportunity in the anticipated age of electric mobility, as environmental concerns loom over petrol and diesel-run vehicles.
“We have always worked towards making transportation cleaner. With changing technology such as emission norms, we are constantly working towards upgrading our range of products,” Mansi Madan Tripathy, managing director of Shell India, told HT on Wednesday.
“Shell is a global company, so we have technology to meet whatever demand future raises for us. Even for the Bharat Stage VI (India’s emission norms is based on Euro VI and set to kick in from 2020), we are ready. In fact, we are already helping some of the OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) in testing their new engines,” Tripathi said, on the sidelines of the fifth edition of Global Lecture Series (GLS) “On Greenovation- The Future of Mobility”.
L-R Mansi Tripathy, country head, Shell Lubricants India; Suddhasatwa Basu, professor of department of chemical engineering at IIT-Delhi, PK Banerjee, deputy executive director (technology) Siam; YB Ramakrishna, chairman of working group on biofuels, ministry of petroleum and natural gas and Soma Banerjee, principal- energy and infrastructure, CII, at the 5th edition of the Shell Lubricants Global Lecture Series in partnership with CII at IIT Delhi.
(Shell handout photo)
The GLS, organised by Shell India with Confederation of Indian Industries and Indian Institute of Technology Delhi, focused on challenges of the industry towards greener mobility. Besides technologists from various institutes, representatives of automakers and ministries of petroleum and natural gas, road transport and highways, and industry bodies discussed “the future of mobility”.
Most of Shell products are also compatible with several engines and across a range of fuels of different emission norms, the India boss of the lube company said.
This becomes relevant in India, which recently saw chaos around April 1, 2017, when most automakers were not ready to switch to BS IV engines across the country. Automakers are also sceptical about the April 1, 2020 deadline to meet the BS VI norms, for which a completely new fuel and suitable lubricants will be required.
Shell is also eyeing collaboration with tech companies to give car users on-board information about engine health, oil and coolant status, etc. “We could also develop online platforms such as apps which will allow you place an oil-change order. A company agent will pick up the vehicle from your place, change the oil and deliver it back to you in a matter of hours. And not just that, you could also locate the nearest fuel station to fill your tanks, and may sometimes also order a burger from a café on your way. We are looking at that level of integration,” said Tripathi, who has previously held leadership positions with MNCs such as Gillette and Procter & Gamble.
Automakers have been for a while focusing on connecting smartphones to consoles and vice versa, to smoothen connectivity from the driver’s seat. In India, while Ford and Tata Motors have their own tech partnerships with Microsoft to create suitable in-car infotainment system, major players such as Maruti Suzuki, Hyundai, Honda and Mercedes-Benz are allowing users to sync their phones via Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. Globally a consortium of more than 20 automakers are developing an open platform called Automotive Grade Linux, to facilitate connectivity on the move.
When asked if there’s any scepticism about the oncoming goods and service tax (GST) which kicks in on July 1, Tripathi said, “There could be some friction, but it would be short-term pain for long-term gain.”
She also agreed that the change in tax structure is making some dealers anxious, who are destocking their June inventory. “The government has said they will take care of the transition, regarding issues like input credit, but this (anxiety) is natural and nothing to worry about. The economy will be benefitted, the businesses will grow,” she said.
The new goods and service tax has put various commodities and services into four tax slabs. The new tax system is expected to wipe off the cascading tax impact, which in turn will bring down the net tax at the customer’s end.