Before going in-depth into the BS6 norm, let’s start with the basics. The Bharat Stage Emissions Standards (BSES), introduced in the year 2000 are automotive emissions standards mandated by the government of India to keep a check on air pollutants from an internal combustion engine in a vehicle. These standards are set by the Central Pollution Control Board under the Ministry of Environment and Climate change.

In a recent ruling, The Supreme Court has ruled that BS4 vehicles will not be sold after March of 2020 when the BS6 norms are put in place.

The BS (Bharat Stage) norms are based on EURO (European) emissions standards. The “India 2000” was rolled out in the year 2000, followed by BS2 and BS3 in 2001 and 2005 respectively. It wasn’t until BS4 (4th stage) (BS IV), that more stringent emissions mandates were enforced. In 2016, the government of India decided to skip BS5 altogether and implement BS 6 by the year 2020.

What is BS6 (Bharat Stage 6)?

The Bharat Stage 6 (BS VI) norm is the sixth mandate for vehicular emissions and a much welcome change amidst the rampant air pollution in India. BS 6 is a stricter, more restrictive norm that will give a jumpstart to India’s long battle with air pollution. With the roll-out of the BS 6 norms, India will come at par with the US and European equivalent emissions norms.

How is BS 6 different from previous norms?

  1. The norm will bring a change in the fuel, as BS6 compliant engine require BS6 fuel. A BS6 vehicle using BS4 fuel will not adhere to the BS6 norms. Indian oil companies have already started distributing BS6-grade Petrol and Diesel at 391 filling stations in Delhi with plans to make BS6 fuel available in all 13 major metro cities by April 2019.
  2. A vital difference between BS6 and the outgoing BS4 fuel is that the BS6 fuel contains 5 times fewer sulphur traces (10 parts per million) compared to BS4 (50 ppm). NOx (Nitrogen Oxide) level will be brought down by a staggering 70% for Diesel engine and 25% for Petrol Engines.
  3. The BS6 brings along a plethora of changes, most significant being the mandatory OBD (Onboard Diagnostics) for all vehicles.
  4. RDE (Real Driving Emission) will be introduced for the first time that will measure the vehicle’s emission in real-world conditions against simulated conditions.
  5. Introduction of DPF (Diesel Particulate Filter) and SCR (Selective Catalytic Reduction) for Diesel engines.

What are the challenges with BS 6?

While it all sounds good to the consumers, it isn’t all hunky-dory with car manufacturers. With the eventual phase-out of BS4 and introduction of BS6, automakers are pressing round-the-clock to develop BS6 compliant vehicles. In fact, due to non-compliancy, the Diesel engine has taken a massive hit with sales dropping to an all-time low.
Read more here: The Future of the Diesel Engine

Automobile manufacturers need to get rid of their BS4 stock before April as the Supreme Court of India has ruled that no BS4 vehicles will be sold after April 2020.

Billions have been invested in technology, research and development of BS6 fuel compatible engines. Also, with the BS6 upgrade, the cost of manufacturing will shoot up with analysts claiming car prices to soar up by 10%-15%. Luxury car maker; Mercedes Benz recently introduced their BS 6 ready made-in-India S-Class, way ahead of the deadline.

Will BS 6 Fuel damage my car engine?

There are incoherent rumours that BS6 fuel will cause damage to old car engines. The truth is that the BS 6 fuel won’t harm your car in any way. In fact, a higher grade fuel might reduce emissions by upto 10%-15% in an older car.


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Akshat Ajeya

Lead, Content & Creatives at GoMechanic | Consumer of many foods | Automobile Scale Model Collector | DIY guy

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