Auto Expo 2016 | Green vehicles take centre stage

Green, hybrid, electric are buzzwords as nearly all auto makers are showcasing their environment-friendly vehicles at the auto show

Imagine tyres that generate electricity for your electric vehicle. They could be a reality soon on the streets of India, with tyre maker Good Year Tire & Rubber Co. developing a concept tyre.

The company expects it to become a reality soon for customers.

The product is being showcased at the 2016 Auto Expo where green, hybrid and electric vehicles are the buzzwords as nearly all automakers are showcasing their environment-friendly vehicles.

“This tyre generates electricity and has built-in heat and motion sensors. It captures heat from the tyres as well as motion from the road and converts that into electricity. So, if you have an electric car, it can help recharge that on the go as well as when car is parked. In sun, when car is parked, it will absorb heat from sun and convert it into electricity,” said Mike Rytokoski, vice-president of consumer tyres for Good Year’s Asia Pacific Region.

Amid an ongoing debate on vehicular pollution, resulting in poor air quality and sparking health scares, these green vehicles are evoking massive interest among visitors.

India plans to have six million electric vehicles on the road by 2020 in a bid to reduce vehicular pollution and combat global warming.

The government expects the electric vehicles to help India save 2.2 million tonnes (mt) to 2.5 mt of liquid fuel, valued around Rs.14,000-15,000 crore, and reduce carbon dioxide emissions by up to 1.5%. In the next two years, the government hopes the push will help facilitate sales of at least 800,000 electric vehicles, led by two- and three-wheelers, Mint reported in January 2015.

India is the third most polluting country in the world after the US and China, who have signed a major bilateral climate deal, wherein the US will reduce its carbon emissions by 26-28% below its 2005 level by 2025 and China will reach the peak of its harmful carbon dioxide emissions around 2030.

Diesel and heavy vehicles, considered among most polluting vehicles, have drawn the Indian judiciary’s attention in the past few months. But the question that looms over the future of all such vehicles is whether the price-conscious Indian consumer will pay the higher price for such vehicles.

Alongside, industry heavyweights like Tata Motors Ltd, Ashok Leyland Ltd and Mahindra and Mahindra Ltd are showcasing their hybrid and electric buses.

Tata Motors has showcased an “Ultra Electric” bus and a new hybrid CNG bus. The other biggie, Ashok Leyland, is also launching “Hybus”, a CNG hybrid bus and showcasing a BS-VI compliant truck. The central government recently announced plans to leapfrog from Bharat Stage-IV to Bharat Stage-VI emission norms and advanced the deadline to 2020. Mahindra showcased its hydrogen bus “Cosmo” and Eicher unveiled its hybrid “Skyline Pro”, a school bus.

Besides heavy vehicles, four-and two-wheeler manufacturers also presented hybrid and electrical vehicles.

Toyota Motor Co. unveiled its fuel cell vehicle Mirai claiming its only residue is water and that it has a zero carbon dioxide emission. The vehicle evoked a lot of interest from visitors.

Toyota also showcased its traditional hybrids Prius and Camry. South Korea’s Hyundai Motor Co. also joined the green car movement with a hybrid version of its Sonata model.

While many of the showcased vehicles are in concept stages, some are close to production stage.

So, even though the visitors were excited about the new vehicles, companies like Renault expressed doubts over the feasibility of such vehicles in the Indian market.

“We have lots of solutions. We are selling these kinds of cars in some other countries. India is a very sensitive market. When you are adding cost to your car, you are not sure to find some customers. That is the problem in India. It is an emerging market. Our objective today is not to bring this kind of technology; it is to increase our market share. We can bring this kind of technology, but this is too expensive,” said Gerard Detourbet, alliance global vice-president, Renault SA.

(This news story is from Live Mint)