Green Vehicle Rating to check emission levels - GulfToday

Green Vehicle Rating to check emission levels

Meena Janardhan

Writer/Editor/Consultant. She has over 25 years of experience in the fields of environmental journalism and publishing.

Green Vehicle

Efforts are being made to move the ever-growing two- and three-wheeler rider base towards greener options in the country.

India is battling a humungous health catastrophe – discussion on any other issue, whether major or minor, seems irrelevant. Heartwrenching images and stories top newspaper headlines. Stone-heartedly, however, one has to refocus on other urgent and pressing dilemmas too – including the huge environmental issues that we cannot ignore.

Pandemic-related environmental issues aside, air pollution has and will be India’s leading environmental hazard. One effort to combat this is ‘Green Vehicle Rating’– India’s first two-wheeler ratings based on environmental performance.

The Alliance for an Energy Efficient Economy (AEEE), one of the leading organisations that works on creating awareness about energy efficiency as a resource, recently released the Green Vehicle Rating (GVR), the country’s only vehicle rating system based on environmental performance. A consumer information tool, the GVR aims to reshape consumer knowledge on vehicles and help buyers calculate its impact on a community’s health and environment.

It identifies high to low performing vehicle models in terms of the negative impacts of GHG emissions and criteria pollutants (CO, HC, NOx, PM) released from two-wheeler tail-pipes. In its current phase, the GVR evaluates two-wheeler and three-wheeler internal combustion engine (ICE) models. In the upcoming phase, it intends to include electric technology given the rising uptake of Electric Vehicles (EVs) in these segments.

With the launch of the industry-first tool, the AEEE has set out to move the ever-growing two- and three-wheeler rider base towards greener options in the country. The GVR also intends to help buyers identify high-performing vehicles, make informed decisions with a web-based rating system for vehicles followed by working towards increasing the demand for greener variants. The GVR website allows a buyer a model to model comparison of the vehicle, the real cost of ownership, damage cost, and emissions levels along with commonly sought specifications like mileage, cost, engine capacity etc.

As the GVR website states, fast-paced urbanisation and rising per capita incomes have seen an exponential increase in demand for mobility to move people and goods. This, in turn, has seen a sharp rise in ownership of motor vehicles – particularly two- and three-wheelers – and their share in petrol and diesel sales in India. Vehicle fuel use exerts pressure on energy sources, along with creating emissions that deteriorate air quality, worsen climate change and brings economic losses to the country. Hence, there is a clear need for consumer-oriented and actionable information on vehicle emissions that allows consumers to account for energy and environmental burdens while purchasing a vehicle.

The GVR identifies high to low environmental performers in a pool of top-selling models in the two- and three-wheeler categories. This assessment is done based on the damage caused to public health (morbidity and mortality) and environment (ambient and physical environments, agricultural ecosystem). Information on composite damages caused is characterised in monetary terms (rupee per kilometre).

Cars, bikes, trucks, and other ICE vehicles generate energy through combustion. This combustion however is only partial, and the tailpipes release a mix of harmful air pollutants. The quantity of these emissions and the safe limits depend on various factors like vehicle maintenance, driving conditions, fuel type, etc. These vehicles have upstream emissions due to the production and distribution of fuels.

These emissions contribute towards climate warming, extreme weather conditions, low agricultural yields, smog, respiratory and heart diseases, and other health impairments that lead to higher mortality, and increase medical expenses for the common person.

The GVR calculates the real cost of owning a vehicle after considering the cost of ownership, and the damage to human health, and environmental (climate change, damage to crops, decline in visibility), due to vehicle tailpipe emissions.

To calculate the real cost of owning a vehicle, GVR uses the ‘Damage Costs’ methodology. This methodology estimates the monetary cost of upstream and tailpipe emissions, on your health and the environment. The impact of these emissions vary by pollutant type, source (cars, bikes, trucks etc.), geography and demography. These are known as social costs and represent the money needed to undo the damages caused by the release of every gram of pollutant.

The first phase of GVR covered only ICE vehicles and captured tank-to-wheel emissions. In the second phase, the tool now includes (EVs), and additional ICE models in the two-wheeler segment. While EVs have zero tailpipe emissions, today, they are mostly powered by coal-fired electricity. This means that GHG emissions and pollutants shift from EVs to power plants. Therefore, to rate EV models alongside ICE-models, we calculate the upstream and tailpipe emissions.

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