Working Paper

Engines and tires as technology areas for efficiency improvements for trucks and buses in India

India is in the process of developing fuel efficiency standards for new heavy-duty vehicles, and one critical input to regulatory development is a technology potential analysis to determine the efficiency levels that the fleet can reasonably achieve over the period covered by the regulation. This paper presents a primary analysis to estimate how improvements in engine and tire technology will translate into fuel consumption reductions for a select number of representative HDV types in India.

The paper is narrowly focused on two research questions:

  1. How do engine efficiency improvements—as measured over an engine dynamometer—translate to fuel consumption reductions in full vehicles over a range of different drive cycles?
  2. How do reductions in aerodynamic drag compare to reductions in rolling resistance drag in terms of overall fuel consumption impacts over a range of different vehicle types and drive cycles?

For this analysis, the authors developed vehicle simulation models for three representative HDV types based on popular models in the Indian market: a tractor truck, rigid truck, and transit bus. Each of these representative vehicles is modeled using data on vehicle characteristics for fiscal year 2013–2014. The HDV models analyzed were designed in simulation to resemble the top-selling models in their respective vehicle segments.

The study results support a view that India would be best served to focus on engine and tire improvements for its first phase fuel-efficiency regulation for trucks and buses. While technology advancements are possible in other areas, such as aerodynamics, transmissions, and accessories, compared to engines and tires the marginal benefits will be quite small.