India Electric Mobility Mission Sends Carmakers Scrambling

MUMBAI: Automakers big and small are racing to build hybrids and electric cars to take advantage of tax benefits and increasing concerns on air quality in major cities.

A dozen electric and hybrid cars are likely to be launched in the next three years with Mahindra & Mahindra (M&M), Hyundai, Toyota and Nissan joining market leader Maruti Suzuki in adopting this technology.

M&M is currently working on XUV mild hybrid, which will be launched in the next 6-12 months. It is alternatively working on four-door versions E2O and KUV electric. Likewise Hyundai’s mid-size sedan Verna will get a soft hybrid next year and is exploring the same technology for the upcoming Tucson SUV.

Other multinational companies such as Volkswagen, Toyota, Honda and Nissan are planning to focus on more expensive pure hybrids and electric vehicles.

These carmakers will be launching pure hybrids in the higher segments where price tag is not an issue.

The government offers lower excise duty on electric and hybrid cars under Faster Adoption of Manufacturing of (Hybrid &) Electric Vehicles (FAME), which is part of National Electric Mobility Mission Plan.

Rising concerns on air quality in major cities is prompting automakers to bring forward plans for greener vehicles. Volvo Auto India is planning to launch plug-in hybrids, which the company claims will have zero emission for the first 40 km.

“By 2020, about 40 per cent of diesel vehicles is expected to have some sort of electrification — either with stop/start systems or mild hybrids. Fuel economy regulations and BS6 will be the main drivers for that,” said Suraj Ghosh, principal analyst, powertrain Forecasts, IHS Automotive.

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