As the automobile industry across the globe is moving away from over a century-old internal combustion engine (ICE) to lithium-ion battery-powered electric vehicles (EVs), the 2020 edition of biennial India Auto Expo became a launching pad for automakers to showcase their capability and commitment to bring in more EVs and green options in the Indian market.
Taking the lead was India’s largest carmaker Maruti Suzuki (MSIL) which on Wednesday announced its plan to sell one million green cars (compromising CNG, hybrid and electric cars) over the next few years under its ‘Mission Green Million’ and unveiled the Futuro-e concept, a coupe-looking electric SUV at the expo. While MSIL is yet to launch an EV in India, rival carmakers at the expo showcased their EVs for the Indian market. Mahindra & Mahindra launched the country’s most affordable e-car, eKUV at a starting price of `8.25 lakh and said it will launch the electric variant of XUV300, the eXUV300, by the second half of the next fiscal. Similarly, Tata Motors, which recently launched the electric variant of its popular SUV Nexon, unveiled production-spec Tata Altroz EV and the Sierra EV concept at the expo. Tata Group chairman N Chandrasekaran said Tata Motors will launch at least four more products in the next 18-24 months with a focus on sustainability and EVs. Renault and Hyundai also showcased their green mobility expertise and said they would be launching EVs in the mass segment. Hyundai is aiming to bring an affordable electric model for less than `10 lakh within the next 3 years. MG and Kia and luxury carmaker Mercedes also showcased their electric prowess at the expo. In the ICE segment, it is all about SUVs.
Hyundai unveiled the facelift of Tucson, while Great Wall Motors, which is about to enter India showcased a variety of SUVs, including Haval F7 mid-size SUV. The Chinese player committed an investment of $ 1 billion in India. Volkswagen, Tata Motors, MG and Kia pavilion is full of soon to be launched SUVs, as the segment continues to swim against the slowdown tide. Kia Motors launched the Carnival in India at Auto Expo 2020 for an introductory price of `24.95 lakh.
Leading carmakers such as Maruti Suzuki and Hyundai have questioned the central government’s move to increase customs duty on imported electric vehicles in the Union Budget announcements made on Saturday last week. While Maruti Suzuki said it is not easy to localize in such a short period of time, Hyundai Motor said the announcement has come as a surprise for the carmaker. India has increased import duty on completely built electric passenger vehicles from present 15 percent to 30 percent
The increase in basic customs duty across the electric vehicle (EV) segment comes in the backdrop of Chinese manufacturers dumping low-quality battery packs for EVs in the country. These measures will result in a rise in prices of existing electric buses and passenger vehicles sold in the country by Olectra Greentech, Hyundai Motor India Limited and MG Motor India Limited. These companies import their respective products in a completely knocked down (CKD) or semi-knocked down (SKD) form