The Bharat New Car Assessment Program (Bharat NCAP) safety rating protocol is set to encompass frontal impact, side impact, and side pole impact tests. These evaluations will result in star ratings being assigned for both adult occupants (AOP) and child occupants (COP).
Initiated by the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways under the leadership of Union Minister Nitin Gadkari, the Bharat NCAP program is now in effect. Automakers have the opportunity to submit their vehicles for testing in accordance with the Automotive Industry Standard (AIS) 197. The implementation of BNCAP is poised to bring about significant changes in the Indian automotive landscape. By assuring buyers of vehicle safety, facilitating global competitiveness for automakers, and encouraging safer driving practices, this program is expected to make a substantial impact. Additionally, it can contribute to alleviating healthcare burdens and securing incentives from the insurance sector.
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Benefits of testing cars under Bharat NCAP
Starting from October 1, 2023, India is set to become the fifth nation to introduce its own crash testing rating system. With an impressive reception, around 30 cars have already been submitted for crash testing under the Bharat NCAP since its successful launch. This process involves an expenditure of approximately Rs. 60 lakh for tests conducted within India, a cost that would escalate to Rs. 2.5 crores for the same tests carried out overseas.
Although subjecting vehicles to Bharat NCAP testing is voluntary, the evolving consumer mindset from cost-driven to safety-focused will likely compel automakers to put their vehicles through these rigorous new standards. This shift towards heightened safety criteria will not only allow buyers to make more informed decisions based on safety ratings, but also foster the reduction of road accidents and fatalities. For manufacturers, adhering to these tests could translate to increased market share and the ability to compete on an international level. Furthermore, the initiative is anticipated to stimulate the development and utilization of advanced components, while encouraging innovative solutions.
Qualification of Cars under the Bharat NCAP Crash Test Regulations
Bharat NCAP operates under a set of rules and regulations. Inclusion criteria encompass vehicles falling within the M1 category, designed to accommodate up to 8 passengers along with 1 driver. The vehicle’s gross weight must not exceed 3.5 tonnes, and it can either be domestically manufactured or imported. All types of vehicles, including combustion engine, CNG, and electric, fall under the jurisdiction of Bharat NCAP.
The evaluation process entails assessing cars through frontal impact, side impact, and side pole impact tests. Three key areas are considered: Adult Occupant Protection (AOP), Child Occupant Protection (COP), and Fitment of Safety Assist Technologies. A star rating ranging from 1 to 5 will be assigned, with 5 Stars representing the highest rating. Separate star ratings will be designated for AOP and COP.
Frontal Impact Tests are conducted at speeds of 64 km/h (40 mph). The vehicle collides with a deformable barrier, covering 40 percent of the front width on the driver’s side, mirroring Global NCAP standards. Adult protection is evaluated using crash test dummies placed in the front seat. The vehicles must also adhere to pedestrian protection regulations. Additionally, if a vehicle attains a safety rating of 3 stars or higher, it must undergo an additional pole-side impact test.
Side-crash and pole-side impact tests are carried out at speeds of 50 km/h and 29 km/h, respectively. Each category is assigned a range of points to determine its corresponding star rating. For instance, a vehicle must be equipped with front seat belt reminders and electronic stability control to achieve a three-star rating. Bharat NCAP star ratings are calculated based on a maximum of 32 points for AOP and 49 points for COP.
Procedure for Crash Tests under Bharat NCAP
The automaker will need to propose a vehicle for crash testing.
- Bharat NCAP authorities will visit the company’s stockyard and choose a base variant of the vehicle randomly.
- Subsequently, the vehicle will be transported to the Bharat NCAP facility, where representatives from the automaker and BNCAP officials will be present during the tests.
- The test outcomes will be compiled and disclosed to the automaker, after which they will be made public, and a certificate will be issued by the Central Institute of Road Transport.
In summary, Bharat NCAP places a strong emphasis on vehicle safety. Gadkari urged organizations like the Automotive Research Association of India and National Automotive Test Tracks to establish in-house crash testing facilities. He also emphasized the importance of road engineering as an aspect that needs attention to reduce accidents and fatalities on India’s roads. The country currently witnesses 47 accidents and 18 deaths per hour, with 70 percent of road accident fatalities occurring within the 18-34 age group.
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