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Bosch upbeat about ‘radical change’ to BS VI

Murali Gopalan | Updated on January 08, 2018

Jan-Oliver Roehrl, CTO and Director, Bosch

Engineers are being sent from India to Germany, Italy and Japan to work on Euro 6 projects

Considering that there are barely 800 days to go before Bharat Stage VI emission norms become a reality across India, you would expect Jan-Oliver Roehrl to be slightly concerned.

After all, he has a key role to play in this transition as CTO and Director of Bosch, which will supply critical components to a host of vehicle makers. Roehrl surprises you with his response. “I am not worried about the road ahead,” he says. “On the contrary, BS VI is a must if you want to improve air quality.”

Huge challenge

Remind him then that India has perhaps overreached itself by choosing to skip BS V and jump directly to this emissions standard and Roehrl continues to be unruffled. “Sure, BS V could have been done but the reality is BS VI and it is a good decision (by the Government),” he insists.

From his point of view, the technology for this marathon exercise is available and it is really the job of suppliers and OEMs to sit together and work out the best solution for the Indian market. Then, as an afterthought, Roehrl admits, “It is a huge challenge and I will not deny it. BS VI is not a transformational change but a radical change.”

Just when you think you have scored a brownie point in this discussion, the Bosch CTO is quick to add that things are on course with the challenge ahead. Reiterating that the various teams within the company are “fully charged,” he reminds you that engineers “love to work on new stuff”. That is true for project and manufacturing teams too where “people love new things”. And even while the auto industry is concerned about timely availability of BS VI fuel coupled with earmarking substantial investments on fuel injection technology, Roehrl speaks of the “high positive energy” within Bosch. “With BS VI, we can be a real solutions provider beyond delivering the component,” he explains. This would mean doing the complete layout of the fuel injection, air parts and after-treatment side too.

Training programmes

Roehrl then elaborates on what is happening on the competencies side where skills are being rebooted within the organisation to be able to meet the challenge in 2020. “We are having a unique situation with our engineers in India spread across the world and being trained in Japan, Italy and Germany,” he says.

This is the best way to ensure that they get adequate exposure to the big task ahead in India. By sending them overseas, they can work on Euro 6 projects and then take this knowledge back to India. Additionally, Europe is going to the next step towards being RDE (real driving emissions) compliant, which ensures that cars emit low emissions over real road conditions.

When engineers from India return after this important exposure, Bosch plans to have them double up as trainers and “spread the word” to the teams here. The company is also bringing experts from Europe to India to help out during the transition and beyond.

“It is a two-way approach where people come here to stay for some years while Indian engineers go abroad for training and then return to pass on their skills,” says Roehrl. “This exercise began over a year ago and they have come back fully charged.”

What also helps is that there is now easier bonding with international teams since the ice is broken with these visits. Responses are quicker and things are now becoming more informal. This is more than welcome during a high pressure exercise where nerves could be frayed.

If things go according to plan, India is on its way to becoming the next “knowledge centre” for BS VI within Bosch. This also offers a “unique opportunity” to the company’s vehicle customers for their “export ambitions”.

With BS VI, India will also close the gap with a host of developed nations and even overtake China in the process. Given that some of these solutions for emissions are already available elsewhere across the world, it can benefit from the “already existing scaling effect”. Other countries, on the contrary, have had a tougher learning curve in terms of “engineering hours time, investments and effort spent”.

The next frontier for India is for the automotive ecosystem to go completely electric by 2030.

While this is clearly a tall order, a host of two-wheeler makers are getting ready to unveil new offerings and this is where Bosch will also look at playing a bigger role.

Published on January 04, 2018

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