Electric vehicles may not have gained traction with the customers yet but they are still reckoned as the technology of future, hence no manufacturer can afford to ignore their potential. Perhaps with this reality dawning, several manufacturers — passenger vehicles as well as two-wheelers — are set to showcase their EV portfolio at the upcoming Auto Expo to be held from February 7-12 in the Capital.
The country’s largest passenger vehicle manufacturer, Maruti Suzuki, which has so far remained non-committal on launching electric cars before 2021 for personal buyers, is also not willing to miss the opportunity to prove that if the market is there, it is ready with its products. The company is expected to display electric car Futuro-E along with the WagonR.
Mahindra & Mahindra (M&M), which has already entered the EV space on a modest scale, is upping the ante and will showcase the electric version of its compact SUV XUV300 and eKUV100, which are likely to be launched at the end of 2020 or early 2021. New entrant Kia Motors and MG Motor will showcase Soul and MG ZS EV, respectively.
Tata Motors, another player which has forayed into the segment like M&M, is likely to have on its stands, the electric version of the upcoming new hatchback Altroz.
Chinese SUV maker Great Wall Motors, which is yet to start Indian operations, will come up with at least three electric cars. Among others, Renault India, Audi and Mercedes Benz will be displaying their portfolio of electric cars.All in all, over a dozen electric cars will be on display, many of which will be launched this year itself. FE had earlier reported that a dozen electric cars will hit the Indian roads in 2020 mainly in the hatchback and compact SUV segment.
Mahesh Babu, CEO Mahindra Electric, recently told FE, "The next decade will see EVs becoming mainstream and with a robust charging infrastructure coming in place, I am sure this will accelerate the adoption of EVs in the personal segment as well".
In the two-wheeler space, manufacturers including Ather Energy, Evolet Motors, Okinawa and Tork will be showcasing electric scooters and motorcycles, people aware of the development said. The display of EVs will be happening at a time when they account for less than 0.5% of the total vehicles sold annually, as lack of charging stations, high prices and poor range fail to attract buyers. Moreover, government's subsidy scheme FAME (Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of (Hybrid) and Electric Vehicles) does not include those for personal buyers. Last week, the government approved setting up of 2,636 charging stations in 62 cities across 24 states and Union Territories, which may lead to an improvement in demand.
Data shared by society of manufacturers of electric vehicles (SMEV) shows, only 3,600 electric cars were sold in FY19 against a total of 31.6 lakh cars sold during the fiscal. Electric cars are costlier by an estimated 30% compared to the conventional cars as batteries and lithium ion cells -- a major component of the battery -- are imported by all the manufacturers, making the vehicle costlier than the global standards. Batteries account for over 40% of the total vehicle cost. Similar cost structures are there in the case of two-wheelers. So far, only corporate houses and fleet owners have opted for electric cars, that too in very limited numbers. Two-wheelers too have been majorly bought by delivery services companies.