BS 6 was implemented two years ago on April 1.St, 2020 disrupted the Indian auto industry where more and more automakers ditched the diesel variants of their existing cars and shifted to petrol-only models for their entire lineup. Now, some brands are also exploring other options like hybrid and electric power. But not all diesel engines were dumped, as manufacturers like Hyundai, Mahindra, Tata, and Honda decided to make their engines meet government-mandated emission standards and capture the diesel market.
Now though, there is another set of rules that will affect most small diesels or those offered in hatchbacks like the Hyundai i20, thanks to the RDE (Real Driving Emissions) or BS6 B emission norms. Will be losing their diesel powertrains. The RDE rules, which come into effect in April next year, are stricter because they measure real-world engine emissions. This would either require manufacturers to make expensive upgrades to their diesel motors to meet the standards or scrap the engine altogether. And in the case of smaller cars or smaller capacity diesel engines, there would be no point for consumers to shell out the extra money for the diesel variant.
To achieve lower emission levels, Hyundai has to equip its diesel-powered cars with Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) units that mix a water-urea solution called ‘Ad-Blue’ into the catalytic reactor. Will clean the engine. Emissions make them almost as clean as a gasoline car. But that would make cars more expensive, not to mention a drop in fuel efficiency.
The current i20 diesel
Talking about the Hyundai i20, it is currently one of the remaining diesel hatchbacks on sale in the country, following the discontinuation of the VW Polo and Maruti Baleno. The i20 diesel comes with a 1.5L, 4-cylinder, turbocharged diesel engine that churns out 100 PS of peak power and 250 Nm of peak torque. Moreover, it is equipped with a 6-speed manual transmission. The same powertrain is also used on the Hyundai Venue, Verna, Creta, Alcazar and Tucson, but in a higher state of tune. However, the Korean manufacturer plans to carry the engine in all its other models.
Interestingly, the diesel variants contributed only 10 percent of the premium hatchback sales, i.e. around 700 units per month. This means that it helps the company focus on other diesel SUVs like the Venue which contributes around 35% of sales and the Creta which accounts for over 60%. In a similar fashion, the Nios and Aura diesels were also axed as they came with a smaller 1.2-litre, three-cylinder diesel engine that wasn’t used by any other model, so it was quite a surprise. Understandable why Hyundai would pull the plug.