The BS3, BS4 and BS6 Engines: What are they, Guidelines, Differences

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Shreya Durve
A doctor in the dust

There are many different types of engines used in automobiles nowadays. There are certain mandatory standards to be maintained for automobiles, depending on what kind of an area you stay in, to keep a check on the pollution level, also keeping in mind the economic status of the area.

The Government have divided the engines according to certain emission standards and classified it into BS3, BS4, and BS6. While the BS 3 is a rural area engine, the BS4 is mandatory for the use of urban vehicles. These are in accordance with the Bharat Stage rules, first set up by the British during their rule. We now follow the guidelines of Bharat Stage III.

It is our duty, as Indians to be aware of such laws and understand their effect on the environment. The environmental crisis is not just going to go away with sighing and complaining. instead we should all play a role in its betterment.

This article is to highlight the details of the various engines- BS3, 4 and 6. These are the engines which follow the norm of the Bharat stages 3, 4 and 6 respectively.

What is the full form of BS3, BS4, BS6?

The full form of BS is Bharat stage- which is a set of rules regarding the emission status of the automobile in an attempt to control the pollution level.

What is Bharat Stages?

This is an initiative taken up by the government of India to improve the Emission standards by every vehicle in the country, to control the rates of pollution.

This concept was first introduced by the British and taken into action by the year 2000. it has since then undergone 4 stages of development.

Bharat Stage 3 (BS3)

The BS III was launched nationwide around 2010.  As of April 1st 2017, the sale and manufacture of all BS3 engines have been banned. However, this leads to the major financial distress among vehicle sellers, as there were many unsold BS3 engines.

Bharat stage 4 (BS4)

The BS 4 was launched nationwide in 2017. Since the ban of all BS3 engines, these are the main engines being used in the sale of all new vehicles. However, this is soon to be replaced by the more efficient BS6 in 2020.

Bharat stage 6 (BS6)

A proposal has been set up to mandate all vehicles to have engines following this norm from 2020. The major difference is the fuel rather than the engine.

Differences between the BS3 and BS4 engines

BS4 engines have a larger catalytic converter- thus allowing for better combustion if fuels- hence the reduced pollution! The sulphur content of the fuels has been reduced in BS4 engines.

BS4 engines also have a turbo charger with an intercooler which isn’t available on BS3

BS3 engine BS4 engine  
Carbon monoxide release-2.30 g/km Carbon monoxide release- 1g/km
Methane release- 0.20g/km Methane release- 0.10g/km  
Nitric oxide release- 0.15g/km Nitric oxide release- 0.08g/km

Differences between BS4 and BS6

Currently, the plan is to shift the use of the BS4 engines to the use of BS6 engines.

The sulphur content of the BS6 fuels has been further reduced by 20%. This is the main difference between the BS4 and BS6 plans. There have been no significant changes in the engines other than the nitric oxide release levels (given below)

BS4 engine BS6 engine  
Carbon monoxide release- 1 g/km Carbon monoxide release- 1.00 g/km
Methane release- 0.10g/ km Methane release- 0.10g/km
Nitric oxide release- 0.08g/km Nitric oxide- 0.06g/km

Pros and cons of the various engines

In 2017, when the sale of all BS3 engines was banned. Because of this, the automobile industry took a financial hit. There were thousands of unsold BS3 engines. The prices of such engines were reduced to more than 50% and the two-wheeler and truck automobile industry took a special hit.

The BS3 engines had a relatively high pollution rate, and hence a betterment in the scheme was guaranteed. The sulphur levels of the fuel required for BS3 engines were very high and the catalytic power of the exhaust was poor as compared to the later models.

The BS4 and BS6 models offered less propensity to produce avoidable pollution, albeit at a higher cost. The differences between the BS4 and BS6 models are not much- the only significant difference being the lower levels of sulphur in fuel. Practically speaking, this doesn’t warrant the use of a much higher costed engine, and won’t appeal to the general public and middle class.

 Why should we switch to a better and higher graded engine?

As we all know the environment is going through a crisis at the moment, and the temperatures are at an all-time high thanks to the phenomenon called global warming. Thus the use of better engines should be promoted, for better combustion of fuels. Even though the cost of these engines is high, it will reduce the emission rates significantly.

It is our duty, as citizens of India, that we try and save the environment and play our role in doing so. It is very easy to blame the government for all the bad things going on, but we must also take part in the good things that they do- like this. Spending a few thousands extra is not a big price to pay to make the lives of our future generations better and more comfortable.

Vehicles currently available with a default BS6 engine

  1. Maruti Suzuki swift
  2. Maruti Suzuki alto
  3. Maruti Suzuki Dzire
  4. Maruti Suzuki baleno
  5. Maruti Suzuki Wagonr
  6. Hyundai Grand i10 NIOS
  7. Toyoto glanza
  8. Maruti Suzuki ertiga
  9. Maruti Suzuki XL6
  10. Kia seltos
  11. Jeep Compass
  12. Mercedes Benz E class

Besides these, there are many other upcoming models in 2020, coinciding with the launch of the BS6 mandation.

The Bharat Stage 5 (BS5)

The bharat Stage 5 was set to be followed from 2019 onwards, with its own emission rules, but due to some unforeseen circumstances, it did not take place and was thus removed from the schedule altogether- to be replaced by BS6 in 2020.

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