The importance of commercial vehicles as productivity tools highlights the need for them to be cost competitive. From the stage of concept gestation till the end of their life. If a fully functional digital mock-up, endorsed by robust simulations could eliminate the need for physical prototypes, manufacturing costs could be reduced by employing intelligent design to conserve materials. Use of iron and iron based products will continue. Design factor will however ensure intelligent use of aluminium alloys, composites, plastics and other alternate materials – use of state-of-art fuel injection methodologies, piston ring designs, oil additives, nano technology, drive train improvement, etc. Especially when it comes to squeezing more power out of an engine.
Cost competitive CVs also call for a flexible yet focused manufacturing. Nimble enough to accommodate specific customer needs without compromising productivity. Translating at the product level into higher use of electronics to derive optimal power and efficiency. Use of wireless communication to enable remote monitoring of vehicle movement, diagnosis of vehicle condition, and preventive maintenance to ensure optimal productivity. Pending a disruptive stride in battery technology, pure electric and hybrid electric vehicles will not realise anytime soon. This does not dampen the need for user-friendly vehicles. A need that is also translating into rising preference for fully built vehicles; comfortable vehicles, whose interiors are ergonomically well engineered, and include air-conditioning, infotainment systems, etc. Aesthetics are increasingly becoming a part of the product and manufacturer’s brand image.
The quest for comfort is rising. Suspension systems are commanding more attention. While semi-active and active suspensions may take time to realise, consumers are increasingly opting for automated manual transmissions. They make an economical substitute for fully automatic systems. If this brings into focus ergonomics, good ergonomics are a must. Also imperative is environment friendliness. They emphasize recyclability and end-of-life recovery of CVs. Given his unequivocal way of distinguishing between a value-product versus a cheap-product, there’s no doubting that the Indian consumer is unique. Be it adaptation of existing technologies or evolution of technologies, there is a need to learn to operate gainfully at a pre-competitive level. Where industries meaningfully collaborate with academia, government labs and regulatory bodies.
Care should be taken to ensure that innovation is looked upon as a long-term perspective rather than tie it with market vagaries. For India to become a technology powerhouse, there is a need to sit up and take notice of our heritage that has stood the test of time; traditions and value systems. There is a need to weave them into the corporate structure.
Leave a Reply