Hyundai Motor India will soon join in the electric race in India and is expected to contribute to the Indian electric vehicle dream in a big way. The announcement of the ambitious plan to have an all-electric car fleet by 2030 on Indian roads has seen automakers slowly but steadily shifting its product strategy in India and the without a doubt every automaker will introduce electric cars in coming years. Hyundai Motor India is expected to be among the first ones to roll out e-cars and while the company has a strong global presence in the hybrid and electric space with its Ioniq brand, it makes very little sense for the company to introduce it to India.
In an interview to Mint, Rakesh Srivastava, Director, Sales and Marketing, Hyundai Motor India said “We will bring electric cars to India and will meet the timeline given by Union Government. Hyundai has the technology required for electric vehicles and we will bring them in all segments we are present.” Nowhere the company has officially confirmed the introduction of Hyundai Ioniq brand in India as it might be an expensive proposition. India is still at its nascent stages when it comes to e-mobility and to promote electric cars the industry needs to hit hard at mass segments and have heavy localisation content to make the electric cars affordable.
Hyundai Ioniq is currently sold in matured electric vehicle markets like the U.S, Europe and East-Asian markets. The Ioniq is sold in three variants including hybrid, plug-in hybrid and all electric powertrain. In the U.S the all-electric Hyundai Ioniq costs $29,500 or almost Rs 19 lakh. Going by the current scenario, auto-component suppliers and electric component manufacturers in India do not have the volumes to locally invest in making components for a premium car like Ioniq. If Hyundai decides to import and sell the car then costs of the vehicle will at more than double thanks to import duty structure and at about Rs 45 lakh the car will hardly see any buyers.
If it was that easy to import electric cars and sell it in India then the likes of Tesla and Nissan would have ventured into electric space in India long back. It has to be about developing the overall infrastructure and technology to make affordable electric cars, it is a phased approached and various stakeholder need to on the same page of the EV book. Company’s like Mahindra and Tata Motors are currently working on introducing electric powertrains on their existing cars/platforms to save costs and likely will be the strategy by Hyundai and Maruti Suzuki in India as well.
Earlier in an interview, Y K Koo, MD, Hyundai Motor India had mentioned 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."
While move to EVs for India is inevitable one should also accept that it is not easy for any manufacturer to shift its entire product portfolio to electric. Expect key segments like hatchback and sub-4-meter sedan space to first get electric variants before we see electric SUVs and premium cars. Hyundai Grand i10 and Hyundai i20 have been the most successful model for the company and electric variants of these cars would rather be easy to market and would prove more successful for the company more than bringing in the Ioniq brand.
Yes, Hyundai Ioniq is a company’s flagship green car globally and will certainly help in overall brand’s image in India but the expensive price tag makes little sense to Hyundai and the Indian-arm Hyundai Motor India surely understands that contrary to many media reports. Yes, we will see Hyundai Ioniq in India and the company might also flaunt it at the 2018 Auto Expo but a market launch is unlikely before India becomes a matured EV market.