Category Archives: News

Auto Expo: A Brief Introduction

The Auto Expo is Asia’s largest biennial automotive show held in Greater Noida, NCR, India. Conceived in 1985 and making its debut in 1986 at Pragati Maidan, New Delhi, the expo is focused towards introducing new technology, concepts, innovation and designs in the auto industry.

Jointly organized by the Automotive Component Manufacturers Association (ACMA), Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM), the Auto Expo’s path-breaking debut show was a window for technology transfers representing how the Indian Automotive Industry was absorbing the new technologies and promoting indigenous research and development for adapting these technologies for the rugged Indian conditions.

Over the years, the show has only grown stronger. By 2006, it began to see huge overseas participation, with new concepts, launches, as well as trade dialogues. In 2008, it was accredited by the Organisation Internationale des Constructeurs d’Automobiles (OICA), cementing its reputation as one of the world’s most premier auto shows.

In 2020, the 15th Auto Show aimed to not only focus on the static display of motor vehicles but to also focus on the ‘Entire Mobility Eco-System’, enveloped by the theme of “Co-Create, Co-Exist and Celebrate”. Despite the slowdown in the Indian motor industry, the expo had several big brands take part in the event showcasing multiple new concept cars, with electric vehicles taking centre stage.

Today, the Auto Expo is eagerly anticipated by brands and fans alike.

FASTag: What is it?

In an attempt to reduce traffic at toll plazas, the Government of India has mandated electronic payments at all toll plazas across India. To this effect, the government has introduced FASTag.

What is FASTag?
Operated by the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI), FASTag is a simple to use, electronic toll collection system and reloadable tag, which enables automatic deduction of toll charges. It is a device that employs Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology for making toll payments directly, letting you pass through the toll plaza without stopping for a cash transaction. It is linked to your prepaid account of choice, from which the toll amount is deducted. The FASTag is affixed on the windscreen of your vehicle after the tag account is active, allowing you to drive through toll plazas without the need to stop for a cash payment.

What are the benefits of using FASTag?

Easy payment – It removes the necessity to carry cash for payments.

Saves time – The instant payment saves you from waiting in those long toll booth queues; as well as saving you the hassle of waiting for your change and knowing how much you need to pay.

Cashback – Payments made through FASTag offer a cashback of up to 2.5% on all tolls for the year 2019-20.

Online Recharge – FASTag can be recharged conveniently through multiple online options: Credit Card/Debit Card/NEFT/RTGS/Net banking and Point of Sale (POS) locations, with the most recent feature update adding a Google Pay UPI option as well.

Ease of Tracking – You get regular SMS alerts to your registered mobile number each time any transactions are done using the tag, for low balance, etc. Periodic statement of account may also be taken from the online portal website.

Online Portal – To view transaction statements, wallet balance, raise queries, recharge, etc.

The FASTag App:
To accelerate the transition to the electronic payment mode, the road ministry, National Highway Authority of India and Indian Highways Company have launched a My FASTag app. The app allows users to buy FASTtags online, find point-of-purchase locations offline, recharge their tags, and make payments. The app also provides access to a list of operational FASTtag toll plazas across the country, 24×7 highway toll-free hotline and banks’ helpline numbers.

How much does it cost?
FASTag has a one-time fee of ₹200. The refundable security deposit depends on the vehicle type. With a reissuance fee of ₹100.

Specific lanes:
The toll booth lanes will be divided by those paying cash and those with a FASTag pass. The FASTag will work only in the lanes assigned for it. Take note that if any vehicles without a valid FASTag enter the FASTag lane, they will be charged double the applicable toll amount in cash.

FASTag is currently operational at 180 toll plazas across national and state highways with more toll plazas being brought under the program in the future.

Learn more about FASTag here

Ford & McDonalds: The Coffee Cars

Jumping-in to combat climate change, Ford has announced that they are teaming up with McDonalds USA to use coffee waste to make parts for their cars: specifically their headlights.

I know what you’re thinking: cars made out of coffee? What!?

Here’s how it works:
The famous automaker will be taking recycled coffee chaff waste from the fast-food giant. Chaff is the dried skin/husk that is removed from the coffee bean after the roasting process. These are always a bit of a nuisance and mostly discarded afterwards, which makes it the waste of roasting coffee beans.

But as the saying goes, one man’s waste is another man’s treasure and Ford is planning to use a chaff composite for interior car components, and under the hood; because when heated and mixed with plastic and other additives, coffee chaff can be formed into pellets and various other shapes. According to Ford, they will be diverting it from a landfill to its laboratory, where it will be engineered into bioplastics.

According to Debbie Mielewski, Ford senior technical leader, “McDonald’s commitment to innovation was impressive to us and matched our own forward-thinking vision and action for sustainability.” The first car part to be produced using the chaff will be headlamps. With each headlight installation needing chaffs from about 300,000 beans, McDonald’s USA plans to divert a “significant portion” of its North American coffee chaff to Ford. “Like McDonald’s, Ford is committed to minimizing waste and we’re always looking for innovative ways to further that goal,” said Ian Olson, senior director, global sustainability, McDonald’s. “By finding a way to use coffee chaff as a resource, we are elevating how companies together can increase participation in the closed-loop economy.”

As a result of this partnership, manufacturing the car parts will be 20% lighter, which is better for fuel efficiency and will require 25% less energy during the moulding process than with traditional plastic. In addition to reducing food waste, the effort will use less petroleum and lower CO2 emissions.