The Government of India will be open to taking feedback from all stakeholders and even deferring the date of implementation, if needed, according to sources.
The much-awaited Bharat New Car Assessment Programme (Bharat NCAP) crash test norms could come into effect from October 1, 2023, our sister publication Autocar Professional reports.
- Bharat NCAP crash tests will be voluntary
- CNG and electric vehicles eligible for Bharat NCAP tests too
- Minor tweaks to the draft can be done before August
With India looking to implement its car safety star ratings from October 1, Mahmood Ahmed, additional secretary, Ministry of Road Transport & Highways (MoRTH), told Autocar Professional that the ministry has finalised the draft notification, with the formalities for rolling out of the norms starting tomorrow, July 1, 2023.
“We have set the stage for the implementation of Bharat NCAP norms by finalising the draft notification, which will be put up for mandatory review on July 1st for 30 days,” says Ahmed. He further added that through a consultative window, the government will invite feedback from various OEMs and minor changes, if required, will be tweaked during this period, which will end on August 31, 2023, and facilitate activation of norms.”
When asked if stakeholders will foresee larger challenges, he said, “The government is open to reconsidering the date of implementation beyond October 1 to accommodate the challenges and give further time for its implementation.”
Union Minister of Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari had earlier stated that Bharat NCAP will allow Indian manufacturers to get their vehicles tested at the country’s in-house testing facilities and also increase the export-worthiness of Indian automobiles. When Bharat NCAP ratings are implemented, OEMs will be required to have in-built safety measures, and consumers will be able to choose safer vehicles.
Understanding Bharat NCAP parameters
The parameters finalised by the government include various factors, like an assessment of the car’s pedestrian-friendly design, the structural safety of the car, the provision of active and passive safety assist technologies, and the safety of adult and child occupants on the vehicle, which will be used to determine the rating.
The government has aligned Bharat NCAP’s testing protocol with global crash-test protocols, and the new standards will feature star ratings ranging from 1 to 5 stars on their website. While the Bharat NCAP ratings will be voluntary, OEMs will be encouraged to share samples for testing, or the testing agency will have the liberty to pick up vehicles from the showrooms as well.
Bharat NCAP: What type of vehicles qualify for crash tests?
According to ministry sources, the ratings will be enforced for vehicles with type approval for carrying passengers up to eight seats, in addition to driver’s seats with a gross vehicle weight of lower than 3.5 tonnes, manufactured or imported in the country.
The new policy will also benefit local automakers since they will no longer have to ship their samples abroad for testing and star grading, which is an expensive process.
Bharat NCAP: CNG, electric cars will be tested too
In terms of testing, Bharat NCAP will not be limited to passive safety tests and testing internal combustion-engined vehicles, but will also test and rate CNG and electric vehicles based on their crash performance. Also, unlike other NCAP formats, which award separate star ratings for adult and child protection, Bharat NCAP is likely to get a single unified rating for adult and child protection.
In an earlier interview with Autocar Professional, Abhay Mannikar, senior deputy director at the Automotive Research Association of India (ARAI), which is the testing agency for Bharat NCAP, had confirmed that CNG and EVs will fall under the purview of Bharat NCAP. “In India, we will be developing Bharat NCAP ratings for CNG and EV vehicles, which are not the focus of Global NCAP… We will address this gap in Bharat NCAP because it is more of a local issue than a global one,” he had said.
Meanwhile, ARAI is also preparing for the testing with the norms coming into play. “We have fully equipped laboratories in Pune and Chakan that have conducted over 800 pre-NCAP crash tests. ARAI is geared up to execute international levels of tests that are particularly relevant in the Indian scenario,” said a senior officer from the testing agency involved in the process.