Toyota bets big on AdBlue to reduce emission levels

K Giriprakash Bengaluru | Updated on March 23, 2020

Vikram Gulati, Senior Vice-President, External Affairs, Toyota Kirloskar Ltd

‘Diesel exhaust fluid will only marginally alter cost as it’s part of regular servicing’

Automobile companies in India have launched vehicles with BS-VI engines to adhere to the April 1 deadline for introducing new emission norms. In an interaction with BusinessLine, Vikram Gulati, Senior Vice-President, External Affairs, Toyota Kirloskar Ltd shares details about the changes that have been carried out to conform to the new regulations.

What changes has Toyota made in its engines to conform to the new BS-VI norms set by the Government?

Conforming to the new BS-VI norms comprises numerous changes that we have brought in, right from fuel injection to combustion control to exhaust gas treatment, and so on. These changes, however, vary from vehicle to vehicle, depending predominantly on the design necessity. They include addition of diesel particulate filter (DPF) for trapping and regenerating soot to reducing particulate matter (PM) emission and addition of selective catalyst reduction (SCR) with AdBlue, coupled with extra cooling of exhaust gases for nitrox reduction.  (AdBlue is the trade name for a type of diesel exhaust fluid, according to WhatCar website. It is a mixture of urea and de-ionised water that is stored in a tank with a blue cap; this differentiates it from the fuel tank. When the car’s engine is running, tiny amounts of AdBlue are squirted onto the exhaust gas produced, turning the harmful nitrogen oxide (NOx) into harmless nitrogen and water. The AdBlue fluid is usually topped up during annual maintenance. However, if the AdBlue fluid gets depleted, the car will not start).

If diesel exhaust fluid/AdBlue is the way forward for Toyota, how does TKM plan to handle the following:

It is understood that there is a lot of ambiguity in terms of knowledge transfer to the dealership across India, as many service technicians are forced to seek information from the competitors.

Are customers educated about the whole ecosystem of AdBlue?

Special care is taken to educate both the dealer service staff and customers about the change points of BS-VI vehicles. ‘Technical’ and ‘customer handling’ training is given to technicians and customer-front staff to make them aware of the Do’s and Don’ts so that they can communicate the same to the customers while delivering and servicing the vehicle.

In European cars, on full consumption of AdBlue, the engine shuts down. Considering most of Toyota’s customers in India are fleet operators, has the awareness campaign started at the dealership level?

The system does not differ from that of the EU. However, care is taken to decide the AdBlue tank size. Ideally, it is designed to hold the fluid to run till 10,000 km, but its consumption also depends on factors such as ‘fuel quality’ and ‘driving conditions’. Moreover, the system triggers a warning to customers in advance — at 3000 km, 2,400 km and 800 km — before the fluid gets depleted. As topping up of AdBlue is done regularly when during service, customer don’t have  to worry about topping it themselves if the vehicle is  serviced at prescribed intervals.

What would be the refill cost of AdBlue? Can a taxi driver top it by himself?

AdBlue is priced at ₹85 per litre. Owners/drivers can refill it (AUS 32) by themselves as the process is similar to topping up engine oil in vehicles. Also, the detailed procedure is listed in the owner’s manual. However, caution should be taken not to spill AdBlue on other engine parts.

How does AdBlue usage alter the cost of ownership? Considering Toyota’s customers are fleet operators will their profitability per kilometre decrease?

AdBlue usage will only marginally alter the cost of ownership as it is a part of regular maintenance like other consumables like engine oil, filter, etc.

Published on March 23, 2020

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