Maruti Suzuki Says India Not Ready For EVs As Peers Take The Plunge
India's largest carmaker is in no hurry to replace its existing fleet of internal combustion engines with electric variants even as its peers are embracing the technology more than ever.
“Out of 70 million cars expected to come from today till 2030, the industry is projecting 7-8 percent to be electric vehicles. That means 63-64 million will still be internal combustion engine-based cars,” Shashank Srivastava, executive director at Maruti Suzuki India Ltd., told BloombergQuint on the sidelines of Auto Expo 2020. “There is a long intermediate period in which we must improve fuel efficiencies to reduce consumption and that’s what we are focusing on.”
That comes even as Indian and global automakers are showcasing at least two dozen battery-powered vehicles at the nation’s biennial expo which coincided with a prolonged auto slump as Indians have cut back on spending in a slowing economy.
Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd. rolled out the country’s most affordable electric vehicle—eKUV100—priced at Rs 8.25 lakh at the expo. The carmaker joined the likes of Tata Motors Ltd., MG Motor, Hyundai Motor Company that have already launched battery-powered vehicles in the country. Luxury carmaker Mercedes-Benz also expects to launch its EV by April. Newcomers like Chinese Great Wall Motors and Haima Automobile are also planning to launch EVs in the next 18 months.
WATCH | Shashank Srivastava speak to BloombergQuint
Affordability is one of the biggest impediments for electric vehicles, Pawan Goenka, managing director at Mahindra & Mahindra, said, adding that the need of the hour is to develop sustainable vehicles for the future.
Shared mobility will drive the faster adoption of EVs in the country, he said.
Agreed, Guenter Butschek, chief executive officer at Tata Motors Ltd. While fleet will drive faster adoption of EVs but any product which doesn’t have a higher range will not excite the customer, he said. “Faster adoption is driven by fleet but also by private sector. Private sector will move if the vehicle is attractively priced and has proper answer to the challenge of range anxiety.”
Butschek said that the automaker “learnt the hard way” that any electric vehicle with a range of less than 200 kilometres is not a use case that will drive the faster adaption.
He, however, said that launching products in multiple segments will drive growth.
According to Tarun Garg, director of sales and marketing at Hyundai, affordable EVs are still two-three years away. Cost needs to come down for mass adoption, he said, adding that for anything big to happen such small steps are pertinent. India’s second-largest automaker had launched its electric vehicle Kona last year.
And Maruti too, as part of its Mission Green Million, plans to roll out one million “green vehicles” on Indian roads in the next two years. The carmaker said it will focus on four different types of vehicles—compressed natural gas, smart hybrid, strong hybrid and electric vehicles.