Fuel cells are still in experimental stage with the demo versions of 60 buses and 60 A class vehicles being tested in different parts of the world. You could expect to see different launches of mild hybrids and full hybrids in this period, Bharat Balasubramanian, VP, group research & advanced engineering, E/E, IT and processes, DaimlerChrysler AG, said. Balasubramaniam felt that it would take sometime for these technologies to come to India. On the research side, the next challenge would be work on the propulsion side, and integrating active and passive safety modes. The 3.5 litre direct fuel injection system has been introduced in Europe resulting in 8-12% fuel efficiency, he said.
He added that the company was doing a rethink on its research on country-specific cars, what it calls tropical packages. Worldwide, customers are demanding the same kind of technology and same kind of cars. There has to be business case if we have to bring in technology that would be specific to countries like China and India, he said. Wilfried Aulbur, MD & CEO, DaimlerChrysler India, pointed out that it would take at least 6-8 years to bring its Bluetec diesel technology to the country. The challenge is that Bluetec would require even cleaner diesel than Euro IV standards, slated to come by 2010, he explained.