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 Climate Change

Mobility
Published on: Feb. 15, 2020, 10:30 a.m.
Automakers showcase the latest electric vehicles at Auto Expo 2020
  • Tata Motors unveiled the Sierra EV Concept at the Auto Expo 2020. Source: Tata Motors

By Business India Editorial

The Auto Expo 2020 in Greater Noida saw leading Indian and global auto manufacturers continue to bet on electric vehicles (EVs) with a slew of announcements across the passenger and commercial vehicles and the two-wheeler segment.

Mahindra & Mahindra unveiled three EVs, a concept car and variants of the Treo, an electric three-wheeler. The EV launches included the Atom, which will provide a new urban mobility solution and an e-version of the compact XUV300. “Our focus will not only be on growing our clean energy business unit through our electric mobility business but to also provide cleaner engines as we approach the implementation of BSIV norms,” said Pawan Munjal, group managing director.

Tata Motors displayed the single largest EV portfolio across passenger and commercial vehicles with the launch of cars such as the Altroz EV, a city car, the 4/12m Low Floor Entry Electric Bus for urban transport requirements and Ultra T.7 Electric, a commercial electric truck. There was also the Sierra EV Concept, giving the popular SUV a green twist. “The Tata group has always focussed on the most urgent needs of the nation, which today is to fight pollution. We are not in denial of our contribution to pollution and so we need to be the ones who actually try to bring a solution,” said Guenter Butschek, MD, speaking on the e-mobility space.

Other EV launches included the Kia Soul EV, the MG Marvel X, said to be the world's first mass production vehicle with integrated Internet, electric, and autonomous capabilities, the Renault City K-ZE and Hero Electric’s AE-47 motorbike.

Maruti Suzuki unveiled a concept vehicle, the Futuro-e SUV, a coupé-styled SUV; the company is yet to unveil an electric vehicle. Kenichi Ayukawa, Managing Director, believes that Indian customers are not ready to embrace e-mobility yet due to high costs and inadequate infrastructure. “I absolutely say that electric vehicles will come after a few years and we have to prepare for it anytime customers expect. By that, I mean our customers and not anyone else," he said.

The Auto Expo took place against the backdrop of the upcoming adoption of the Bharat Stage VI emissions standards from 1 April and a push towards tackling pollution via various methods, including improving urban transportation systems and e-mobility programmes. Vehicle prices are expected to go up as manufacturers roll out BS VI-friendly models, which could prove to be another hurdle for the auto sector that has been suffering a slowdown for the past year or so. The ongoing corona virus outbreak in China and the lack of stimuli in the recent budget could also set the industry back.

And while the idea of electric vehicles is commendable, the practicality of its adoption in India is questionable. Issues like mileage anxiety, insufficient charging infrastructure and hefty costs, due to battery components and maintenance, pose tough challenges.


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