Honda Car India backs hybrid vehicle technology: In talks with state governments

While typical of most auto companies, the crux of new launches was quickly hushed, we got to know a crucial bit that HCIL is betting big on hybrid cars.

By:August 12, 2021 5:16 PM
Honda City RS hybrid used for reference.

Honda Car India is gearing up for the launch of the refreshed Amaze. The car which is HCIL’s second largest selling model here, will be launched in a facelifted avatar on August 18. While we hear there will be mechanically no changes to this car, with just four engine options including a lone diesel, HCIL must be up to something big for the future. We caught up with Rajesh Goel, senior VP and director-marketing and sales, HCIL, to understand the company’s plans. While, typical of most auto companies, the crux of new launches was quickly hushed, we got to know a crucial bit. HCIL is betting big on hybrid cars. The brand had the Civic hybrid in India for a limited time and the car was much loved but then pricing played a spoilsport in its success.

Rajesh told us, “We firmly believe that hybrids can be a good intermediate technology till India transitions to EVs fully. It helps to develop a manufacturing ecosystem for electrified vehicles enabling smooth transition, helps the consumer to reduce their range anxiety and gives sufficient time to all stakeholders to create the requisite charging infrastructure.

Strong hybrid vehicles are backed by advanced electrified technology where vehicles run on EV mode for an extended duration and consume much lesser fuel which will support the government’s focus to reduce fuel import bills as we move forward.

We have been in discussion with central and various state governments to discuss the merits of hybrid technology. There are already many state EV policies that acknowledge these merits. An all-around policy support for hybrid cars can surely boost this technology and help in faster electrification in the mobility sector.”

Now, we understand what HCIL is trying to convey here as they might not want to do a Civic hybrid encore. The hybrid technology in itself including the Li-ion battery, motor, generator are imported and in the process, makes the cars expensive.  If there are incentives given on hybrid vehicles through the FAME-II purview, then it makes sense to launch those here. Especially the part wherein while hybrid engines rely on fossil fuels but they still manage to save a bit by bringing in electric intervention. With these thoughts it is apparent that Honda, like Toyota, might first introduce hybrid cars in the Indian market and then graduate to full-blown EVs. These though are not the only bits we discussed with Rajesh and a full-blown report of the same will be up soon. Keep watching this space for more.

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