Electric vehicles in India

Toyota unveiled its electric-petrol Prius at the International Engineering Trade Fair in New Delhi. Honda Motor Company unveiled its Insight hybrid car and the FCX fuel-cell vehicle in Delhi. Mahindra said that a hybrid SUV will be launched soon Dalmer-chrysler has been working on biodiesel powered Mercedes. In January mahindra has launched biodiesel powered Arjun tractors and Bolero. Has Indian automotive industry looking for a hybrid future?

Especially for a fossil deficient country like India, Hybrid, fuel cell powered and biodiesel powered vehicles seems to be a good alternative. Biodiesel, Electric vehicles (EV), Hybrid vehicles and Fuel cell vehicles will replace the Petro – Diesel vehicles in coming years. I will write on all these things in future. This post is all about electric vehicles in India.

Overview:
Electric vehicles are virtually maintenance free. It has no gears, no engine, no belt or chain drive, zero emission, no pollution, electronic start and accelerator, besides it is exempted from the Central Vehicles registration act by the Automotive Research Association of India (ARAI) and does not require any registration or license. These bikes are usually chargeable at 220V which your refrigerator requires. For charging bikes require special adapter. Batteries, Motors and other electrical kits are imported from china and other countries whereas mechanical design and assembly of these bikes are done here. Electric bikes target School students, women and who are under 18 years of age. Following is the review on some of the manufacturers and their products in India.

Yobykes:

Indus – division of Electrotherm a gujrat based company is the recent player in electric vehicle market. It offers two scooterette and four bikes models with the motor power range 200-250W. YO-smart scooter model from Indus come with a very compact dimension. The vehicle weighs less and has a payload of 75kg. YO-smart vehicle clocks a top speed of 25km/hr and the vehicle offers a range/charge mileage of 75km. Charge duration required is 6 – 8hours. Electrotherm’s YOBikes are ranged between Rs 13,999 and Rs 23,249.

EKO vehicle:

EKO vehicle a Bangalore based company offers EKO cosmic –I scooter and EGO bike. This company has been in this business for a long time and has dealers in various locations in India than its counterparts. Battery weighs at 28kgs and has a life of 12000 – 15000kms. The company offers a rapid charger which will charge the bike at 10 – 15 minutes (good for intuitional consumers). Cosmic offers a variable mileage depends on your payload. The maximum speed is 40 km/hr and Cosmic noise is less than 60decibel. Cosmic is offered in five colours and is exported many countries.

ACE motors:

Pune based Ace motors manufacturers e-bike (electric bike) and the majority of the components of this bike are imported from China based company Changtong E Bike Company Ltd. The e-bikes from Ace Motors weigh almost 60kg. The bike offers a load-carrying capacity of 100-140 kg. To cover a distance of 220 km, you need to charge the bike for 6 – 8 hours at 220 volts. The maximum speed of the bike is 25 km/hr and is priced at Rs 26,500.

REVA:

Reva car is the Indian face of Toyota Prius and Honda FCX. It launched the India’s first electric car in 2001. Reva introduced Energy Management system (EMS) which diagnoses and rectifies the problem of over discharging and helps in better maintenance. To counter the general perception amongst people that electric vehicles are not safe, the Reva has incorporated safety features like the steel space frame, side impact beams, dent-proof ABS body panels, a low voltage system, and a dual-braking system. The Reva is offered in three variants — Standard (non-a/c), Air-conditioned and Classe. Priced at Rs 3.1 lakh (on-road) for the base variant and Rs 4.05 lakh for the Classe variant, the Reva is not exactly very affordable. The non air-conditioned base variant has a driving range of 80 km on a full charge, while the other two air-conditioned variants will give you about 60 km. Cute and super compact Reva which comfortably seat two adults and two kids offered in six colours. Reva has received investments worth USD 20 million recently from Global Environment Fund

Others:

There are many regional players in this industry. Now, this industry has attracted major players too. Mahindra eco mobiles a subsidiary of M&M has launched “Bijlee” a 10 seater available only in selected markets. Scooters India a lucknow based company has been offering 8 seater (including driver).Scooters India claims the charge range as 80km at a speed of 30-35km/hr.Many major cycle makers has recently entered this industry. Hero cycles (Hero Honda group) has collaborated with UK based Ultra motor has launched a series of bikes in January 2007. The bikes have a maximum speed of 25 kilometres per hour and run for about 45-50 kilometres on a single charge. The electric bikes come in the range of Rs 15,000 to Rs 20,000 and the electric scooters in the range of Rs 24,000 to Rs 28,000. Hero group has great investment plans for this segment. Another major bicycle manufacturer Atlas has launched an e-bike priced at Rs 17,000. Ludhiana based Avon Cycles and Chennai based TI cycle has also launched ebike.

Problems:

Even after intense subsidies (not in India) these vehicles failed to make definite market why?

Some of their biggest minuses of these vehicles are underpowered performance, the heavy weight of batteries, which consequently drags the performance even further, poor driving range per charge of the batteries and inability to offer all the devices that gasoline/diesel powered cars offer since they will drain the battery and charge needs to be saved for the main purpose of driving the car. It lacks practicality and luxuries that gasoline powered vehicles have been able to offer.
Other problems include less availability of spare parts and qualified mechanics, bad dealer network, even though it is claimed maintenance free, problems with electrical kits often occurs. Very importantly these vehicles are priced too high for instance Reva is priced on par with a well established car like Zen estilo makes it unattractive. But the manufactures estimated that production of higher volumes of EVs will reduce the cost by 10-15%. Also larger number of regional players makes electric vehicle less reliable since prospect of the company itself uncertain. Many people questioned me about the location of availability of these bikes. The industry requires consolidation and proper marketing.

Verdict:

“It is estimated that India’s fossil fuel dependency on other countries currently from 70% to 82% in 2012. If we can have three lakh Electric Vehicles on the roads by 2020, including three-wheelers, cars, and scooters, this could result in a reduction of over 16 lakh metric tons of CO, NOx and HC by 2020, savings of over Rs 3,700 crore in foreign exchange and significant health costs savings”—- automonitor

If you are ready to buy an EV just read what the Indian government offers!

Government has reduced the custom duty on three of the imported components in battery operated vehicles (BOV) to 10%.Excise duty reduced on electric vehicles from 16% to 8% in 2004 budget. But the industry feels that the efforts are not sufficient.
Toyota Prius the model which accounts for nearly 80 per cent of the hybrid vehicle sold globally is about Rs 10 lakh in the US. In India at current levels of duty, it could cost anywhere between Rs 20-25 lakh because of the high import duty. At present total import duty is 111% (60% on CBU imports plus countervailing duties and other levies). According to A Toyoshima, managing director, Toyota Kirloskar, the Indian government should relax the duty structure for such hybrid vehicles to promote eco-friendly technology in the country. Honda said that the new small car it plans to offer in 2009 would be a hybrid if the government makes required tax sops. If government wishes a greener future it has to take necessary actions to encourage the industry, if you want to save the earth buy an e-vehicle.

F.N: if you know any manufacturer producing electric vehicle just post it here, this will help someone.

Preview on Chevrolet Spark

Remake time! Not only in cinema but in automotives too. GM will launch its compact car Chevy (Chevrolet) spark in India in April.

To reduce the risk, manufacturers tend to remake the cars under the old badge and to be cost competitive they prefer identical configuration (Zen estilo borrows its engine from WagonR).Now, GM will bring the old Daewoo matiz as Chevrolet Spark in April quarter of 2007. GM already sells the Spark in China, South Africa and Singapore as Chevrolet spark and in Europe under the badge Chevrolet matiz. The proposed compact car would take on the market at present dominated by Maruti Alto, Zen Estilo and Wagon R (the trio shares the same platform) and Hyundai Santro and Tata Indica Xeta .

Engine:

There will be two versions of petrol engine-0.8L and 1L for Chevy spark (there are speculations about launch of diesel engine, but I believe at least in the short term first the diesel will be introduced in Chevrolet aveo U-VA to match diesel swift).
795cc, 6valve-Smaller engine (to take on Maruti 800) will pump out 38KW and torque of 68.6 Nm@4600 rpm. The three-cylinder design is said to provide a very flat torque curve, which means a much less peaky power delivery than would be expected from an engine of this size, and ensures that the Spark exceeds most performance expectations. . According to Chevrolet, with its five-speed manual transmission driving the front wheels, the three-cylinder unit claims to give a mileage of 19.2kpl with a top speed of 142 km/hr.

The 995cc, 8valve engine which will compete with Maruti Zen estilo and Hyundai Santro, pumps out 48.5KW and gives a maximum torque of 87.3Nm. With the refined engine the spark provides you greater power for a more relaxing drive at sustained higher speeds for longer journeys. With the completely new pedal box design with durable plastic moulded pedals and a noise-insulating mat between the engine compartment and the dashboard improves the sound insulating effect. Chevrolet claims fuel figure as 17.85kpl with a top speed of 156Km/hr

Design and comfort:

Exteriors:

As for the design the GM plays safe it preserves the old design – large round head lamps brings back the memory of old Daewoo matiz.
The Chevrolet spark is a classic example of the Monoform design, as is the Zen estilo and Honda Civic. Monoform design reduces the front and rear overhang which means easy parking in metros and it also maximizes the wheelbase, which in turn improves cabin space. Thanks to the selection of materials, generous use of high strength steel not only gives you the required stability but it also makes the car weigh less. It weighs about 795 kg against 875kg Zen estilo. To improve the handling of the Spark, a completely new torsion beam rear axle was used, coupled to angled shock absorbers and semi trailing arms. This will provide you much greater precision wheel control than the trailing link axle used in Zen estilo. Gas pressure shock absorbers together with softer mounting rubbers in the suspension links will improve the ride comfort. Chevrolet claims spark gives you greater visibility from the high driving position with low waistline and slim pillars for tight reversing occasions.

Interiors:

The main feature of the Spark interior is the cockpit, which is divided into two main sections. In the driver’s direct line of view, there is a semi-circular set of displays incorporating the control and warning lights. Then, in the center of the dashboard and slightly raised, is the instrument panel with classic-style analogue displays, easily visible to all Spark occupants. They provide information on rpm, speed and fuel level. The odometer reading and time are displayed in digital form which means they are easy to pick out at a glance and the clever ergonomics mean you don’t have to peer through the steering wheel and take your eyes off the road. More cars should have this set-up. For average sized people the Spark’s interior will pose no problems in the legroom department and headroom will fit for most sizes too. The seats are supportive and good for distance work. The rear seat’s backrest can be divided in the ratio 60:40 against the not folding type offered by Zen estilo, enabling longer objects to be transported without problem. If the complete bench is flipped up, the capacity rises to an impressive 845 litres whereas the raw boot space (luggage space) is 170litres.

Safety and special features:

ABS (anti lock braking system) and driver-passenger airbags may not be offered in 0.8L spark and may be offered in 1Lspark as an optional one. Precisely defined load paths with an energy absorbing hexagonal profile protect the passengers in the event of a head-on or rear collision. Optimised links between the B-pillar and the sills provide additional protection in the event of a side impact. The range of safety equipment is completed by an energy-absorbing steering column, knee padding and a plastic fuel tank with a safety valve that immediately halts the fuel supply if the car turns over, thereby virtually eliminating any fire risk. Certainly it may not be the safest car but 0.8L spark will certainly score over the Maruti 800 when comes to safety. Air conditioning, power windows, power steering, remote fuel lid opener and remote tail gate opener will be offered as standard in 1L spark.

Price and Service:

Chevrolet spark occupies the top position in both the APEAL and IQS study by JD power in china

Definitely a superior package from the world leader, especially 0.8L spark is much much superior to Maruti 800 in terms of design, safety, engine and comfort( u can avail the estilo type comfort at Maruti 800 price).1L spark will also give sleepless nights to Maruti alto, zen estilo and Hyundai Santro. But can general motors match the well established Maruti in fuel efficiency and very importantly price?
In china the basic model is sold close to a price of 2,75,000 rupees even after the intense competition from chery QQ( it is reported that Chinese manufacturer chery QQ has copycat the chevy spark design ). In India Maruti 800 A/c is priced at Rs2,20,000 hence to be competitive GM has to bring down the price. I believe that lot of trimming will take place before the launch in India. Spark requires service for every 15000km/1year.
Considering the Maruti’s reliability, customer satisfaction and mileage it will be tough for General Motors to penetrate the well established Maruti’s market.

Further Launches:

Optra diesel is likely to be launched soon. GM will roll out two new models Epica and Captiva. The Captiva will take on the likes of the Honda CR-V, the Hyundai Tuscon and possibly the Toyota Fortuner if it does make its way to India by then. The GM SUV will be available with a 2.0-litre common rail diesel and a 2.4-litre petrol engine. As for the Epica, the car will compete for market share with the Honda Accord and Hyundai’s Sonata. It will share its diesel engine with the Captiva, though in a different state of tune. For Cadillac and Hummer, “those cars are in the horizon but not in the short to medium term,” said GM India president and MD Rajeev Chaba.

Useful links:
http://www.aas.com.sg

For Chevrolet spark colours http://www.chevroletsingapore.com/content_data/AP/SG/en/GBPSG/001/flash/

For Chevrolet spark copycat
http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/05_06/b3919010_mz001.htm

catch the photos of chevrolet spark

[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.vicky.in/temp/SPARK.swf" width="480" height="360" wmode="transparent" /]

Fabia for India!

Skoda is going to launch Fabia – a compact car in India by the end of 2007.

The first generation fabia has sold about 15lakh in Europe and other countries. The world premiere of the new generation of the Skoda Fabia will take place at the Geneva Auto Show in March 2007 subsequently it will be launched in India. From the looks of it, the 2007 Fabia seems to have a lot in common in terms of design with the new Suzuki Swift. Here are the few scoops about the car and its video

Czech site “Auto” has got THE on tscoop he second generation Fabia model. They managed to catch on tape, a semi-camouflaged prototype performing test runs.

In Europe the fabia is well known for its attractive design,the large amount of space, and above all, the generous amount of comfort ans is offered in various segments as Fabia sedan, Fabia combi and Fabia RS.

Engine:

A total of seven engines for the new Fabia,Four petrol and three diesel engines will be available in Europe. But only two variants of diesel and petrol are likely to be offered in india (since only engines under 1500cc for diesel and 1200cc for petrol falls under the tax band of 16%). These engines are already available in Romania and Czech market.. Engines will be borrowed from Skoda roomster-another successful model from Skoda, for Fabia.

Mileage figure in Czech by similar vehicles powered by these engines (though fuel consumption varies for vehicles I believe these figures will help you to evaluate the engine).

Diesel engines:
1.4TDI PD/51 KW —-18.4kpl
1.4TDI PD/59KW —-19.1kpl

Petrol engines:
1.2 HTP/44KW —– N.A
1.2 HTP/51 KW —–14.7kpl

abbrevation:HTP-high torque performance TDI-Turbo Direct Injection PD-pumpe duse(unit injector)

Very important for India (and for Skoda) will be the smallest of these engines offered. The three-cylinder 1198cc 12-valve petrol engine puts out 60bhp but this engine’s 11.4kgm of torque at a low 3000rpm

The 1422cc turbo-diesel will be Skoda trump card though. A three-cylinder version of the Laura’s PD motor, it puts out an impressive 79bhp and an even more impressive 19kgm@ 2000rpmof torque which can be matched only by Maruti swift. So it will go head-on with the Swift diesel, Tata indica and the soon-to-be-launched Getz diesel. To be competitive apart from the performance and pricing, Skoda has to improve its customer satisfaction (it occupies 9th rank in JD power CSI study) before this launches.

Design:

According to Skoda, new Skoda Fabia will be of 3992 mm in length (well under 4000mm to enjoy tax sops) 1642 mm in breadth and 1498 mm in height Fabia is largest in its class. The effectively usable space offers the occupants more space both in the front seats and in the rear. The boot has a basic capacity of 300 litres as against 232 litres in Maruti swift and, when the rear seats of Fabia are folded down, it will increase to 1163 litres.

The world car got the opportunity to ride the new generation Fabia has come up with following facts.

“The design of the new Fabia expresses clearly emotional characteristics. The fresh design with its strongly accentuated radiator grille, the integrated headlights which are both dynamic and harmonious, and the sideline which expresses both agility and value combine to make the new Skoda stand out clearly from its competitors. This is achieved by means of the white roof, available on request, and the four different wheel designs in the programme. The space is exceptionally generous in spite of its compact measurements and, in the rear; the amount of headspace provided is impressive. The ergonomic seat position for the driver is a matter of course in the new Fabia, while the higher position of the seats affords a better view of the bonnet and also makes entering and leaving more comfortable. The new Fabia offers more space for knee and foot space for all occupants, setting new standards in travelling comfort. Numerous functional improvements have been realised in the interior. The operating elements for the ventilation and the audio unit have been set high up in the centre console. This makes it possible to operate them without being distracted from what is happening in traffic”.

The following facilities will be offered in new Skoda Fabia, but in India these facilities may not be available for the sake of low cost or it may be offered as an optional one.

The highlights of the new Skoda Fabia :
• Large boot with a capacity of from 300 to 1163 litres
• Above-average legroom for all passengers
• The best headroom for rear passengers in the small car class
• Choice of different engines
• Audio/mobile phone operation via new remote control module on the steering wheel (option)
• Large tilting sun roof (option)
• Electronically regulated “Climatronic” air conditioning (option)
• Integrated six-CD autochanger (option)
• Two-tier boot cover-which can be installed at two different heights increasing the flexibility and functionality of the boot.
• Curve halogen projector headlights (option)
• Cornering front fog-lights (option)
• Seven different wheel designs, four steel and three alloy
• Diesel particle filter for the 1.4 TDI PD/59 kW and 1.9 TDI PD/77 kW diesel engines
• Attractive rear lights in Skoda’s trademark C-shape
• Higher seat positions for driver and front passenger that afford a better view and more comfortable access

In the rear, a child’s seat can be affixed with a top-tether belt which limits the forward movement of the upper part of the child’s seat in the event of a head-on collision.

Price:

Fabia may be priced at around in the price band of 4.5-6lakhs (10-15 percent more than the Getz). What you will get for the premium will be quality levels previously unheard of in this segment, plenty of interior space and solid European build and safety. The Fabia is sure to give Hyundai getz and Maruti swift a few sleepless nights at the very least. It is certainly ahead of the game when it comes to interior space, quality and choice of engines

Further launches:

Volkswagen will invest $ 530 million in pune for a new plant, that will work in conjunction with sister company Skoda India’s existing facility at Aurangabad and the plant will be operational by 2009. Pune plant will have a production capacity of 1,10,000 units and the group will bring other locally produced VW brand. Skoda will bring india the Fabia RS which is expected to have 150-plus bhp in addition to Volkswagen launch of Polo – which will compete with Maruti swift, Hyundai getz and Chevrolet spark (soon to be launched) and Passat sedan- costs about 30 lakh which will compete with Mercedes and BMW  in India in coming years.

useful links:
http://www.auto.cz
http://www.skoda-auto.com

Bajaj Kristal!Here’s ur valentine’s gift

Bajaj returns….

The launch of bajaj kristal

The win over Hero Honda (remains the market leader in 100cc segment) in 125cc (with Bajaj discover) and 150cc (with Bajaj pulsar) motorcycle (geared ones) segment does not come without a compromise for Bajaj, it loss it’s scooterette market (once Bajaj Chetak was known as scooter of India) to Honda activa and Hero Honda pleasure. Bajaj is set to regain the scooterette market with Kristal and Blade.

Kristal and its peers?

Honda entered the scooterette market with the 102-cc gearless Activa in 2001. Activa is the market leader in the segment and sells nearly 28,000 units a month. Hero Honda rolled out its first 100cc gearless scooter the “Pleasure” across India in 2005, is proved to be a successful model. Bajaj is going to launch a full-size scooter Blade for men (could feature a 150cc engine), which will compete with the Kinetic Blaze (India’s first maxi scooter-featuring 165cc engine). Bajaj launched its new 95cc scooter Kristal targeting the fair sex (women)

Scooterette are widely used by ladies, hence it demands greater style, light weight, hassle free, greater comfort, good luggage space for shopping compromises can be made on power, mileage and price for the sake of rest.

Kristal features DTSi (digital twin spark ignition), exhausTEC (torque expansion chamber) and SNS (spring-in spring) suspension system.

Ride and comfort:

The Kristal’s engine is a 95cc DTSi unit, which puts out a peak power of 7.2 PS at 7,500 rpm and a maximum torque of 7.7Nm at 5,500 rpm. DTS-i to have a delightful throttle response and hitch-less power delivery. With ExhausTEC and DTSi Kristal provides better fuel efficiency and smoother ride. The Kristal also features a one-speed variomatic gearbox. Kristal clocks a top speed of about 75 kmph. Kristal is on par with its peers scooty pep plus and HH pleasure to offer a combined mileage of 48kpl and with SNS kristal economises your visits to the doctor too.

Kristal features leading link with co-axial shock absorber &spring at the front and SNS at the back. SNS is nothing but having two springs instead of one and the springs are intelligent enough to differentiate and absorb larger and smaller bumps. SNS serves dual function a better ride and reduced back problems.Kristal’s broad and soft-foam seat makes it comfortable and supportive. Handlebar grips, made of soft and durable rubber, have been designed to give the rider a comfortable feel. Vibration transfer is well contained during speeding, but at idling there is still considerable vibration, though the handlebar grips do a good job of dampening much of it.

Design and dimensions:

When comes to design practicality predominates the style. Thoughtfully made plastic panels at the front are practical enough to save your scooter from scratches. Instrument cluster features a fuel gauge, speedometer, analog distance counter, indicators for the side stand, turn lights and for the high-beam. Kristal weighs about 99 kg and with ground clearance of 131mm makes it easy to handle. With the widest wheelbase (highest in its class) of 1250 mm it makes lot of foot space. With an under seat storage space of 22 litres and an appreciable front glove box space make Kristal a shopping bike.

Special features

It is the special features which make the vehicle a cut over the rest and are good enough to lure the ladies. Kristal does away with the choke it features an electrically operated fuel pump/feeder which eases the starting engine at cold condition. It has the unique Front Fueling system that ensures a convenient refueling to the rider by avoiding the bother of getting off the vehicle while re-fuelling. Kristal provides automatic headlamp controlled by a sensor which senses low light conditions and switches on the parking lamp and it also lights up the instrument cluster, prompting the rider to also turn on the main headlamp. Penta-lock (five) facility –ignition lock, petrol tank cap, side lock, accelerator lock and seat lock shows the producer interest on practicality of the Kristal. A bulb to light up the storage area (only offered in scooty pep plus) and a beeper prevents the seat from accidentally closing at a fuel station and protects your child from crushing fingers. Accelerator lock and side stand alarm offers you better safety.

Summing it up…

Is it a perfect Valentine’s Day gift for your dear ones? With a competitive price tag of Rs 40,070-on the road. It seems to be!

Kristal is offered in red, black, blue and silver colours (check the availability in your nearby showroom) against HH pleasure offered in eight colours. Bajaj Auto was hoping to sell 10,000 Kristal a month within six months of its launch. But it may not be easy with peers like Hero Honda which launched 22 first ever women-exclusive scooter showrooms “Just4her” across the country to lure women customers and TVS for its part has launched an exclusive web for girls http://www.scootygals.com/

But Bajaj seems to be mute (where is the hoodibaba Marketing!) I find it difficult even to get the correct technical specification on the web. To do the magic once again! Bajaj requires will.

[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.vicky.in/temp/kristal.swf" width="400" height="400" wmode="transparent" /]

IS IT WORTH WAITING FOR LOGAN?

Logan is named to sound like log in or log on

Logan is the European face of low cost manufacturing which knocks out many global manufacturers, now heads to India-paradise of low cost manufacturing. Renault is now cloning its success to Nashik-where 5 lakh cars(that number could increase by 3lakh if Nissan decides to join the duo) is going to be produced through a joint venture between Mahindra and Mahindra (M&M) and Renault. The car is sold across three continents i.e. European, African and Asian and in 42 countries (the car is not offered in US).Despite the low cost 5000 euros (Rs3,00,000) its quality nothing sort of a good car from other manufacturers. Toyota and GM is drawing methods to produce a low cost vehicle that could challenge the Logan.

Engine and Powertrain:

The car will be made available with three different engine options and in as many as eleven variants, to compete from indigo to fiesta, from Verna to aveo. The company is looking at launching two petrol engines for the car — a 75bhp, 1.4-litre and a 105bhp, 1.6-litre and a 70bhp, 1.5-litre common rail direct ignition (CRDi) K9K diesel engine. It comes with second-generation common-rail injection and a low-inertia turbo. Power output is a modest 70bhp, similar to the Tata Indigo, but the torque of 16.3kgm is (higher than the Tata indigo) with 85% of peak torque available between 1,500 and 3,500rpm, the 70hp 1.5 dCi engine delivers lively acceleration that will meet your expectations. Gear ratio is good enough to exploit the torque of the engine i.e. you don’t need often switch gears. Supercharged by a low-inertia turbocharger to reduce the response time, it combines comfort and driving flexibility. Since a large amount of soundproofing (to preserve the low cost) was omitted, road vibrations and engine sound and wind noise are noticeable for the passengers. The engines are specially prepared to handle lower quality fuel, preserving the fuel economy and pollution levels. Combined with its 50-litre tank, the model’s low fuel consumption gives it a basic range of over 1,000 kilometers The Logan 1.5 dCi accelerates from 0 to 100kph in just 15 seconds quicker than fiesta and indigo. Fuel consumption is very frugal. Deduce the figure by 25% for India u will happy to ride it against Indigo and Verna. Fiesta cannot match its low cost despite equable mileage.

Mileage figures in Europe

1.4l(pet) 1.6l(pet) 1.5l(die)
14.7kpl 13.7kpl 21.3kpl

Price band

Logan combines keen pricing with low running cost. It requires servicing gasoline engines for every 30000km and 20000km for diesel engines and Renault provides generous warranty (3yr or 100000km warranty). The petrol Logan is estimated to be priced at between Rs 4.5 and Rs 4.8 lakh (base model) while the diesel variants will be priced around Rs 5.5 lakh.

Design and comfort:

The Logan is based on the B platform on which third generation Renault cars are built. Logan designer Kenneth Melville (the man who designed the Mercedes SLK) told Business Week, the original design brief for the auto was a “value-for-money car with a lot of space and the stately look of a sedan.” Certainly Logan serves the purpose.

Exteriors:

In order to make maximum savings on production costs and recycle components and technical solutions already in stock, the car comes with a flatter windscreen than usual, a single body shell (to save on welding), rear-view mirrors are symmetrical and can be used on either sides of the car and a dashboard moulded in one piece. The rear lamp clusters, set at an angle, smooth out the car’s structured edges. The Indian Logan is all set to get a different grille and a Renault logo. It will also come with new lights and an entirely body-coloured nose. The aerodynamic drag coefficient is 0.360.Ground clearance is 155mm where Mahindra&Mahindra and Renault have to work out for the Indian roads. Logan suspension is said to be soft and strong, and the chassis sits visibly higher than most other cars help it to negotiate dirt roads and potholes and is appreciated by many auto analysts, but the real test will come when the car hits the Indian road.

Interiors:

With a record wheelbase of 2630mm against indigo (2450mm), Verna (2500mm), Fiesta (2486mm) it is more spacious and it can be compared with what tata calls indigo limousine(Indigo XL pricing almost 7 lakh).The Logan’s interior space was designed for countries where it is common for whole families to pile into one car! So there are 5 proper seats and a very large boot with a capacity of 510 litres, offering best-in-class value. Three very tall passengers (over 1900 m) can sit comfortably in the back. The width of the seats (1,420 mm), foot room (420 mm) is generous, and there is 185 mm of knee room. The adjustable steering column and seat and with a cabin length of 1685mm (you no longer need to adjust for the driver).Air conditioning takes between 3 to 10 minutes maximum to reach the desired temperature and is powerful enough to lower temperature even from 40C. The absence of a boot release means you have to use the key each time you want to open the boot. This certainly is taking cost cutting a bit too far

Catch out the design and comfort in flash

[swf width=”420″ height=”325″]http://vicky.in/temp/logan.swf[/swf]

Safety and special features:

The Logan was the subject of intensive work regarding safety. The vehicle’s structure has deformation zones and is designed to disperse the kinetic energy of an impact. The dashboard is also of major importance in providing protection in the event of frontal impact. Its honeycomb structure, made of highly absorbent polypropylene, reduces the risk of knee injury in the event of an impact, while the structure of the seats keeps the pelvis in an appropriate position. Despite the low cost Renault’s use of digital simulation makes the car fetch an overall rating of 9 EuroNcap. Airbags, ABS (antilock braking system), child seat, EBD (electronic brake distribution) and for other features we have to wait till the launch of the car (probably by mid of 2007).

useful links
http://renault-logan.eastrolog.com
http://www.businessweek.com/bwdaily/dnflash/jul2005/nf20050719_4953_db089.htm?chan=search
http://www.mahindrarenault.com/

Expected Launches:

Mahindra will launch its new vehicle named ingenio by 2008. Ingenio, which is expected to replace Bolero, may be aggressively priced at Rs 5 lakh, just above the Rs 4.5-lakh Bolero. Mahindra Renault may also launch five or seven seat version of Logan i.e. Logan MCV (Multi Convivial Vehicle).

With the entry of Logan M&M will create next round of revolution in Indian automobile industry. Hoping a good fight from Tata as well! IS IT WORTH WAITING FOR LOGAN?yes! Continue reading IS IT WORTH WAITING FOR LOGAN?

Will swift diesel match its petrol version?

It must be a ridiculous question! Astounding success of swift petrol version i.e. it has already sold over 60000 units since its launch making Maruti an invincible player in compact car segment. Even though Maruti is holding over 50% market share in Indian car industry it does not lose its appetite. Maruti has decided to roll out at least one new model per year that’s why it launched Maruti zen estilo even in December (not an auspicious time to roll out new model-many will not have money since it is next month to festive time in India).Maruti has launched two variants of swift – LDI and VDI- priced at 4.71 and 5 lakh respectively J.D. Power estimates diesel’s share of India’s passenger vehicle market will grow to 35 percent by 2010 from 30 percent now. Maruti decided to throw a stone in tata’s well established diesel market. Maruti knows well that Indica has become synonymous for diesel, so it offers a complete package that can challenge any car of its class.

Generally petrol fonder are frustrated of diesel because of its higher maintenance cost, it is expensive relative to petrol version and because of its noise and poor resale value. Common rail direct injection (CRDi) claims to resolve some of the problems, swift diesel is using that technology. So the specifications are here and we will decrypt it and find what we can expect from it. The vehicle is already being offered as Suzuki Swift in markets such as Poland, Hungary and the UK at a price tag of £9,799 on the road. Maruti play safe it is evident as it preserves the same chassis and the only difference from the swift petrol version is the engine, hence I wish go in detail.

Now comes the most important part, what we can expect from the Engine

blog-swift.jpg

The technology behind swift diesel (CRDi)

DDiS

The car is heaviest in its class but don’t worry it is provided with powerful engine. The engine’s technology used here is similar to the one used in Mahindra Scorpio i.e. CRDi. Thanks to Maruti for making it available in compact car itself. Fiat, Opel and Suzuki co developed the DDiS(Diesel Direct injection System yet another term coined not from R&D but by marketing dept) engine, which will be the country’s first super compact common rail diesel engine. It will also be the lightest diesel engine, and hence higher the power-to-weight ratio. With a total displacement of 1,248cc, the DDiS engine puts out a peak power of 75bhp (5bhp more than the European version) at 4,000 rpm. With a 16-valve cylinder head, this DOHC engine is also aided by a fixed geometry turbocharger, an intercooler and a cooled EGR system (exhaust gas re-circulation) which results in flatter torque curve which makes it most powerful, fuel-efficient and low emission engine in its class. The engine meets the current Bharat Stage III emission norms, but is capable of meeting the Euro IV level emission standards. The transmission is 5 speed synchromesh. Maruti is well known for its mileage here too we can expect the same with its advanced engine.The car is said to offer an impressive mileage of 61.4mpg(21.8kmpl)in UK and NDTV estimates mileage as 22kmpl as against TATA indica turbo which offers an average mileage of 16kmpl

What we can expect from the numbers:

For drivers:

The steering system is analogous to indica v2 and has a turning radius of about 4.7m. The product comes with P-EPS electronic power steering i.e. steering is assisted by electronic system hence demands lesser effort to negotiate a turn. The swift petrol version has some problems with its steering i.e. you have to pull it suddenly as it is loose in straight ahead position while taking a turn. Hope this will be fixed in this version (check it wile you test drive). The lack of a driver’s switch for the nearside electric window was unforgivable. The swift has slightly shorter wheelbase (the centre distance between the front and rear tyre) than its rival getz but it has widest track(distance between two front/rear tyres) in its class making it more stable and offers better handling. Ground clearance (the distance between ground and lowest part of the vehicle) is 170mm which is good for Indian roads. You no longer have to adjust the rear view mirrors often, the oversized outside rear view mirrors (in fact more than most sedans) offers greater view. Front brakes are ventilated disc type and rear one is drum.

For pillions:

Luggage space is 232 litre as against 290 litre offered by getz and santro. You can get more space by folding the rear seat 368 litre. But notice that volume do not alone matter when comes to luggage space you have to concentrate on effective (usable) space depends on dimension of your luggage. The windscreen and the rear glass are smaller than other cars in the segment and hence reduce the visibility. It cannot match getz when comes to space (leg room and shoulder space offered by getz is best in its class).The rear seat offers generous space for two but the car remains frugal when comes to three. The Swift’s adjustable headrests at the rear are a good addition (available only in VDi model). However, the front seats are comfortable and generously wide. The electronic climate control gives you accurate control of the cooling. McPherson strut in front, torsion beam and coil spring set-up in the rear and 165/80-R14 tyres provides you softer ride in the city. Coming to colour the Maruti offers swift 8 colours (but check the availability in your nearby showroom!).

Safety and special features:

Sadly,front airbags(protects the driver from collision with steering during accident) is not offered in both versions. ABS (antilock braking system) with EBD (electronic brake distribution) comes as optional and it helps you when you travel on a wet surface. Intelligent computerized theft system, Cabin light, cup holders (two at the front and one at the rear) and removable ashtray are the added features. Child lock is offered in both versions. Though alarm when key is not removed is useful it has other side too (you can’t sit with door open and radio on for example), the seatbelt alarm is annoying while maneuvering.It is important to mention Maruti customer support(enjoys the first place in JD survey)which is very important for a maintenance oriented diesel car.

Verdict:

Though you have to pay an additional premium (40000-50000 rupees) for diesel version the car seems to be promising. But Indica remains price competitive and also there is word from Maruti that this is an introductory price, there will be revaluation.

The Swift diesel car also qualifies for a lower 16 percent excise duty versus 24 percent for its petrol variant. GM is going to launch UVA diesel version and much awaited chevrolet spark (nothing but dawoo matiz).Hyundai is also planned to rollout many diesel models this year-santro,getz diesel version and with tata’s indica CRDi customers (wait for some time unless you are a die hard Maruti fan). Maruti had already experimented Zen and esteem diesel but it failed hence all its diesel future lies in swift and it hopes for the best. Also there is a fear that it will eat swift petrol sales. We will wait to see whether swift will do another swift for Maruti

[SWF]http://vicky.in/temp/swift.swf, 400,400[/SWF]

P.S: This post is written by my brother Karthick, who is in his final year of automobile engineering. I hope he will write more articles related with Automobiles and other his fav. fields in the forthcoming days. — Vicky

Petrol/Diesel Price hike – I

If i suggest… our Dailies may add a new column along the the regular market price of Gold, Market price details of petrol..i guess there wont be anything wrong .if my memory is good, i guess the petrol and diesel prices are hiked more than 50% in the last two years…But as expected and usual, people from the ruling front try to convince that they had no other alternatives and people in the opposition use this chance to come into front

Courtesy: Rediff

i’m really wondered how people in the middle class are going to bare such hikes, as people are getting more addicted with automotive like Bikes, mopeds etc etc.
i heard it from my brother, tht a 40 cent hike in petrol price become a huge issue in US while more than 50% hike become so normal in India…

But still i’m not so clear with the statistics and some unanswered questions regarding the petroleum products ..

* Even after this abnormal hike in petroleum products, petrol is underpriced by Rs. 7.45 and diesel by around Rs.5 . The case is so pathetic for LPG which is underpriced by Rs. 96 and kerosene by 10 rs ..

So does i means people who ruled as early were not capable of financial dealings or the people now working in the centre are not good enough to control the conditions ???. If govt is able to give subsidiary at a high rate for such essential products even before two years, why not now ??. Whose real pblm is this ???

* Next one Petroleum companies like IOC, BPCL, HPCL are already facing a fiscal loss of 14 crores and if the prices are not hiked now, then the burden may cross Rs. 40 crores ..Okay But i’m really wondered whats the need for these companies in spending a huge amount in advertisements?? Whats the need for them to Sponser Cricket matches, sponsoring sports players , spending a huge in television advertisements etc etc ..I agree the expenditure for all these is very trivial when compared to the expected loss of 40 C, but definitely this kind of cost cuttings will have an impact in their profit. i’m wondered unless or otherwise Ganguly hold the IndianOil cup ( tht may be possible only if we played against Nambia, Canada etc ..i stress again it may) people in India dont opt for fueling their vehicles ..dont it look somewhat unnecessary one ??

* People then talking about cutting percentage of Excise duty so that the price hike may be reduced ….Someone from TamilNadu also suggest for drop in Sales Tax so that the hike may be reduced…But i ‘m not sure why the ruling parties doesnt show much interest on this …I’m sure it will not less the burden of the govt and it is not a good soln for administration but what i thought is, for our previous mistakes we cant find immediate remedies and its not good to put the entire burden over the people particularly middle class people who is definitely going to be severely blasted with such inconsistent hikes …So lets revolutionize slowly. Also, if i have a thought like only becaz of forthcoming elections LPG and Kerosene prices are not raised, is there anything wrong in it ???..Who is going to bare this burden for ur vote politics ??

* I’m sure it is the world’s most critical pblm of the day ..Whats the alternative for Petrol and Diesel ?? ..But how far we are working towards it ?? r we really invest for such research activities ??. or as usual we are waiting for some other developed country to come up with a proposal and make a big gain out of it ??

Whatever may be” Here after Daily a walk to my office not only going to make my energy balance but also kept my Bank balance” …