Poor trade offs

  • 14/10/2007

Two-wheelers are the latest victim of the fight to get a better brand image for low-cost cars. Industry says cars typically provide a higher level of emissions control than two-wheelers. The limited data churned out by ARAI show that while hydrocarbon and CO emissions from two-wheelers can be as high or surpass those of petrol cars, NOx and particulate matter levels that pose a serious health challenge are several times lower than diesel cars. Moreover, on a per passenger basis, a car emits two times more compared to a two-wheeler and four times more compared to a bus.

The biggest loss that is likely to occur from a substantial shift from two-wheelers to cars is the fuel penalty. While the best small car model in India may have achieved 22 kmpl of fuel consumption levels, two-wheelers have already surpassed 60 kmpl. The emissions of heat-trapping carbon dioxide from an Indian four-stroke two wheelers can be as low as 28 gm/km but that from cars can range as high as 148-192 gm/km. On an average, a car consumes nearly six times more energy than an average bus on per passenger kilometre basis. Philip Radtke of McKinsey, who has assessed the Indian automobiles market, says increased motorisation with an increased share of four-wheelers will further amplify the greenhouse gas emission challenge.

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