India's second largest carmaker Hyundai Motor India will soon be joining the race to bring in electric cars to India and the company is planning to undertake a feasibility study to bring in an small electric SUV into the Indian market sometime later next year. Hyundai India is also considering bringing in electric version of its Grand i10 and Elite i20 cars. In an interview to Times of India, Y K Koo, MD, Hyundai India commented that “Electric cars are a focus for us. We have to go by the government’s policy and norms,It’s better to implement electric cars on lower-segment products. For example, the Grand i10 and i20 and small cars are more convenient, more easy, and more practical for electric than bigger-sized vehicles when it comes to the Indian market." Globally Hyundai has a fleet of electric vehicles and the electric technology is readily available with global car manufacturer. However, the amount of money that has to be invested to bring in electric to India can only be decided post this feasibility study. Global technology might also be too advanced to put up on Indian cars considering the driving conditions is different and difficult. “Hyundai has the electric technology globally. We will consider the next course of action only after completion of the feasibility study” added Koo.
Government of India has announced its goals to achieve electrification in vehicles by 2030 and has taxed electric cars at a lower tax bracket of 12% as compared to other cars. On the other hand, hybrid vehicles are taxed at 43% (including cess) in the GST era raising it from 30% before GST. Due to the constant changes in government policies and tax structure has created a lot of confusion in the auto-industry and the automakers are unable to come up with a proper road map to bring in electric cars into the Indian market.
Hyundai India also believes that it is difficult for its entire portfolio to shift to electric by 2030 but is optimistic that many key segments can surely be upgraded. Hyundai Grand i10 and Hyundai i20 have been successful models for the company in India and electric variants of these will surely appeal to the Indian buyer. Koo also said that Indian government should offer “more benefits” to bring in EVs. “Also, what is needed is a robust (support) infrastructure like charging stations for electric cars” added Koo.
Hyundai India’s quick venture into electric cars will also push other manufacturers like Maruti Suzuki, Tata Motors, Nissan India to bring in a fleet of electric cars to India soon. Currently, only Mahindra & Mahindra manufacturer’s electric cars in India through its Mahindra Electric company and has two cars in its line-up and a commercial vehicle.