India: Motorcycles: Emissions

India: Motorcycles: Emissions


BS IV applies to new type approvals in April 2016 and to all vehicle sales and registrations in April 2017. The regulation establishes the first ever evaporative emission standards for two- and three-wheelers. BS VI standards, which apply in April 2020, largely align emission limits for two-wheeled vehicles with European standards (although they are slightly more relaxed). These standards were implemented with the goal of ensuring that these vehicles will generally be no more polluting than BS VI four-wheeled gasoline passenger vehicles.

Standard type
Conventional pollutant emission limits

Regulating Body
The body that is primarily responsible for setting emissions and efficiency standards is the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH). Further detail regarding India’s regulatory bodies can be found on the India Regulatory Background page. Other regulatory agencies responsible for fuel and environmental regulations are below.

Current Standard
Bharat Stage IV

Two- and three-wheeled vehicles including motorcycles, mopeds, auto-rickshaws, and small three-wheeled goods carriers


The number of two- and three-wheeled vehicles on India’s roads is high both in terms of absolute numbers and percentage of the vehicle fleet. Two-wheelers alone represented over 72 percent of registered vehicles in the country in 2005, up from 66 percent in 1991.1

At over 9.8 million units sold, they made up almost 80 percent of all new vehicle sales in the 2009-2010 fiscal year.2 Regulated pollutants for these vehicles in India are HC, CO, and NOx, with additional PM regulations for diesel powered three-wheelers. Gasoline is the most common fuel for these types of vehicles, although some three-wheelers, particularly commercial ones, run on CNG or diesel.

India introduced its first two- and three-wheeler emissions standards in 1991, with limits for CO and HC. Since then, other pollutants have been brought under regulation, and emission limits have been tightened. In the case of two and three-wheelers, India does not follow the European model.

As emission standards were tightened, two-stroke motorcycles all but disappeared from the market. However, two-stroke models continue to be produced for some mopeds (50 cc or smaller engines), which account for a small share of the market, as well as for three-wheelers (mainly auto-rickshaws).3

Even as standards for two- and three-wheelers have been tightened over time, these remain more polluting than four-wheeled passenger vehicles on a per-kilometer basis, particularly for PM emissions.

Bharat Stage IV

India finalized the fourth stage of emission standards for motorized two- and three-wheeled vehicles on 4 Jul 2014 and 12 Jun 2015,respectively. The Bharat Stage IV standards went into effect for type approvals of new motorcycle model4 and new three-wheeler models5 on 1 Apr 2016 and will go into effect for all motorcycle and three-wheeler models in April 2017. The new regulation not only tightens the HC+NOx values by 23-60% compared to existing BS III standards, but also specifies independent NOx standards for two-wheelers. This requirement will force the two-wheeler manufacturers to adopt technologies that specifically target NOx, including electronic fuel injection, better designed three-way catalyst systems, and very likely, oxygen sensors. The regulation also establishes first ever evaporative emission standards for two- and three-wheelers.

Bharat Stage VI

On 19 Feb 2016, the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) issued a draft notification of Bharat Stage (BS) VI emission standards, equivalent to Euro VI. The proposed standards will take effect throughout the country for all light-duty and heavy-duty vehicles as well as two- and three-wheelers manufactured on or after 1 Apr 2020. The BS VI proposal specifies mass emission standards, type approval requirements, and on-board diagnostic (OBD) system and durability levels for each vehicle category. As proposed, the BS VI standards largely align emission limits for two-wheeled vehicles with the most stringent standards adopted for similar vehicle types in Europe and ensure that these vehicles will generally be no more polluting than BS VI four-wheeled passenger vehicles.

Technical Standards

While Europe uses the ECE and WMTC test cycles, India has traditionally used the India Drive Cycle (IDC), which is said to more closely represent Indian driving norms. The differences in these test cycles affect measurements of pollutant emissions, making it difficult to directly compare Indian and European emission standards. With the adoption of BS IV regulations, the use of WMTC test cycles for type approval of two-wheelers has become mandatory. For three-wheelers, the BS IV and BS VI regulations continue to use the India Drive Cycle (IDC). Emission standards for two- and three-wheeled vehicles are listed in the following table.

BS I-III Emission Standards for Two- And Three-Wheeled Vehicles, g/km
Implementation Date Standard CO HC HC+NOx PM
Two-Wheeled Gasoline Vehicles
1991 12-30 8-12
1996 4.50 3.60
2000 India Stage I 2.00 2.00
2005.04 Bharat II 1.5 1.5
2010.04 Bharat III 1.0 1.0
Three-Wheeled Gasoline Vehicles
1991 12-30 8-12
1996 6.75 5.40
2000 India Stage I 4.00 2.00
2005.04 Bharat II 2.25 2.00
2010.04 Bharat III 1.25 1.25
Two- And Three-Wheeled Diesel Vehicles
2005.04 Bharat II 1.00 0.85 0.10
2010.04 Bharat III 0.50 0.50 0.05
BS IV and BS VI Emission Standards for Two- and Three-wheeled Vehicles, g/km
Vehicle Category Stage Implementation Date (type approvals) Class / Engine Category CO HC NOx HC+NOx PM
If Evap. test ≤2g/test If Evap. test ≤6g/test
Two-Wheelers BS IV 2016.04* Class 1 & Subclass 2-1 1.403 0.39 0.79 0.59
Subclass 2-1 1.970 0.34 0.67 0.47
Subclass 3-1 & 3-2 1.970 0.20 0.40 0.20
BS VI 2020.04* SI Engine 1.0 0.10a 0.06 0.0045
CI Engine 0.50 0.10 0.09 0.0045
Three-Wheelers BS IV 2016.04* SI Engineb 0.94 0.94 0.74
CI Engine 0.38 0.38 0.0425
BS VI 2020.04 SI Engine 0.44 0.35 0.085
CI Engine 0.22 0.10 0.10 0.025
†Two-wheeler vehicle categories based on engine displacement (D) and maximum design speed (Vmax) are: Class 1- 50cc<D<150cc and Vmax≤50km/h, or D<150cc and 50<Vmax<100km/h Subclass 2-1-D<150cc and 100≤Vmax<115km/h, or D≥150cc and Vx<115 km/h Subclass 2-2-115≤Vmax<130km/h Subclass 3-1-130<Vmax<140km/h Subclass 3-2-Vmax≥140km/h * BS IV applies to new type approvals in Apr 2016 and to all vehicle sales and registrations in Apr 2017. BS VI applies to new type approvals of two-wheeled vehicles and to all three-wheeled vehicle sales and registrations on 1 Apr 2020. Proposed limits For direct injection engines only a – and NMHC = 0.068g/km b – for CNG/LPG fueled engines, HC+NOx=0.94g/km

Separate standards apply to two-wheelers with SI engines less than 50 cubic centimeters and maximum rated speed less than 50 km/h. The proposed BS VI standards additionally specify an evaporative emissions limit for both two-wheelers and three-wheelers of 1.5 g/test. Information on in-use emissions standards for two- and three-wheelers may be found on the India: Compliance and Enforcement page.

OBD Requirements

BS VI includes OBD system specifications for the first time for two-wheeled and three-wheeled vehicles. The regulation also specifies OBD threshold limits for two- and three-wheelers. The OBD threshold limits for two-wheelers are equivalent to the Euro 5 thresholds for similar L-category vehicles.


BS VI specifies a durability requirement of 35,000 km for two- and three-wheelers, which is equivalent to the Euro 5 requirement for motorcycles with rated maximum speed greater than 130 km/h. This specification exceeds Euro 5 requirements for other two-wheeled vehicle types, which are set at either 11,000 km or 20,000 km.

Show 5 footnotes

  1. Status of the Vehicular Pollution Control Programme in India, 2010, Ministry of Environment & Forests.
  2. Based on analysis performed on Vehicle Data Systems Sales Data, Segment Y 2011
  3. Emission Controls Manufacturers Association[

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