MCVs and LCVs are emerging as essential modes of transport for catering to the rising transportation and logistical needs of the warehousing industry says Satyakam Arya, Managing Director & CEO, Daimler India Commercial Vehicles.

The growth of the mining sector is crucial for the Atmanirbhar Bharat initiative, what role will the CV manufacturers play in this program?
With a strong push from the government lately, the mining sector has gained significance in the country’s journey to become more self-sustained and self-reliant. Mining is an important economic activity in India. India produces nearly 88 minerals. India is one of the largest exporters of iron ore, chromite, bauxite, mica, and manganese, and it is ranked fifth among the mineral producing countries in terms of volume of production. The mining sector contributes nearly 2.4 per cent to India’s GDP.

At Daimler India Commercial Vehicles (DICV), we are supporting and contributing to the Atmanirbhar Bharat initiative in ways more than one. Apart from the fact that BharatBenz’ (a brand solely dedicated to our home market) products are designed and developed in India. We have localized 90 per cent of our products.

We have seen a revival in demand from the mining sector, and as a result, we are all geared up to transform the way of work in the construction and mining industry. In terms of products and technology, our new generation CVs offer ‘ProfitTechnology+’, a package of technologies and features ensuring industry-leading fuel efficiency, safety, comfort, and reliability. Our product portfolio of 1923C, 2823C, 2828C, 3528C, and 3528CM are all suited for this application. After the minerals are excavated, there are many byproducts of minerals and this will also reflect the need for more efficient trucks. 

Going forward, we are looking to move away from tonnage and focus on customised solutions for different applications with a key focus on increasing digital services for our customers.

At the same time, is it necessary to ensure that Indian mining operations match up to global standards, what kind of CVs will be necessary to achieve this?
The Covid-19 pandemic has shown that automation and digital operations can do more than reduce costs and drive efficiencies. Miners operating remotely or autonomously have found that technology also helps to manage the risks and impacts of Covid-19. They can better support remote workforces, reduce on-site presence, and monitor and control operations from outside the mine site setting.

For example, our Truckonnect, the connectivity module/solution from BharatBenz is now a standard feature in all vehicles that are 16 tons and above in the new BharatBenz lineup and an optional fitment for vehicles below 16 tons. This connectivity module is the “brain” of a connected truck. It receives and transmits data in real-time and is the interface for all connectivity related services. 

Truckonnect tele-diagnosis system continuously monitors the operation of the vehicle technology as well as the levels of the various vehicle fluids. If repairs or maintenance are needed, the system automatically notifies the fleet operator and the workshop. Critical situations/problems are thus detected early on so that they can be resolved before the vehicle breaks down. Also, such systems enable workshop appointments to be efficiently integrated into the lifecycle of the vehicle. It is a more calculated and organized approach for the customer. 

At DICV, we are ready to implement this change to enable customers to avail services at fingertips. Until now, manufacturing was thought to be a 100 per cent hands-on business. Now we see that we can digitalize more processes and tasks than we ever thought were possible. 

Currently what kind of CVs are being sought in the existing business climate? How are you addressing this demand?
BharatBenz is already strongly positioned in the construction and mining segment due to the robustness of our products. Tippers and special 
applications, such as deep mining trucks are seeing see more demand. Apart from HCVs, we also see a decent rise in demand for MCVs and LCVs which will cater to the transport and logistical requirements of warehouses.

Specific to the CV industry, customers will be looking for the best return on investment. The knee-jerk reaction will be to demand discounts and buy the cheapest vehicle they can find, but smart customers will instead look at TCO (total cost of ownership). They will want vehicles that can offer provide a better return on investment in the long term. Which truck offers the highest fuel efficiency, the best uptime, good resale value? Which vehicle has high-tech features like connectivity to improve the efficiency of the fleet as a whole?

This is where BharatBenz vehicles have a strong advantage because we offer the best TCO. Customers that thrive in this crisis will be the ones who understand that the best way to survive short term is to have a plan for being successful in the long term.

What makes your CVs fuel efficient?
The all-new BharatBenz heavy-duty haulage trucks have set a fuel efficiency benchmark that surpasses the record held by our previous generation. Among the newest of the BharatBenz Tipper trucks for the mining industry is the 3528CM tipper truck.

The 3528CM comes with the BS 6 OM 926 engine with SCR technology and gets a 6-cylinder arrangement and a displacement of 7200cc. This does most of the hard work of cleaning and lean burning to offer better fuel efficiency. We have an aerodynamic cabin design with soft cruise options that also help in better fuel efficiency. Flat Torque over wide rpm range, lesser gear shifts, unit injection pump delivering also ensure efficient use of fuel. Constant throttle valve, e-viscous fan, power reduction compressor and the turbocharge and many other such features also help in better fuel efficiency of our trucks. 

The GOI has tried to expedite grant of mining leases, as an industry stakeholder, what impact will this move have on your future business prospects?
We believe it is the right step in the right direction to expedite grant of mining leases as this will accelerate the overall process of exploration. Among global markets, India is amongst the countries with most stretched approval timelines for grant of mining leases. Fast-tracking the grant process of clearances and approvals would minimise the substantial delay and push the industry and mining activities forward and benefit not just the government but also the entire mining ecosystem.

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