EVs steal the show at Auto Expo | The Financial Express

EVs steal the show at Auto Expo

Petrol and diesel vehicles take a backseat

EVs steal the show at Auto Expo
For the first time ever, EV launches at the show outstripped that of traditional fuel-powered vehicles. (File/Pixabay)

Electric vehicles took centre stage on the first day of Auto Expo 2023 as the flagship motor show returns after a gap of three years.

For the first time ever, EV launches at the show outstripped that of traditional fuel-powered vehicles.

Tata Sons’ chairman N Chandrasekaran best summed up the phenomenon. He said, “Transition to electric mobility in India will happen much faster and the Tata Group will make significant investments in the sector to develop a range of products.”

The focus on future technologies can be assessed from the fact that while more than a dozen electric vehicles were unveiled by half-a-dozen manufacturers, only six models were from the conventional fuels family.

Maruti Suzuki, the country’s largest carmaker, which has so far sounded sceptic about EVs, showcased what could become its debut model in the electric vehicle space in 2025. Designed as an urban SUV, the concept EV called eVX made its world-wide debut at the event. While the company declined to state if the eVX will become the debut EV model, the company has already committed to bring its first EV by 2025.

MG Motor, the all-SUV British brand, showcased eight models powered by electric and hybrid technologies. The company is confident of more than doubling the sales contribution from EVs by the end of this year.

Tata Motors, the current market leader in the passenger electric space, showed the electric version of the Harrier, which it aims to debut in 2024. The Sierra electric model was also unveiled by the company but it declined to provide launch guidance. The company showcased the Avinya concept EV which will debut in 2025 after the launch of the Curvv coupe EV SUV in 2023-2024.

Korean brand Kia committed an investment of `2,000 crore for EV-related R&D, manufacturing and infrastructure development. The announcement was made shortly before the company unveiled the EV9 concept electric SUV.

But the enthusiasm for mass adoption of electric technology for mass level mobility was not shared by everybody. Toshihiro Suzuki, president, Suzuki Motor Corporation, said at a select media interaction that considering the size and diversity of India, the country needs solutions beyond electric vehicles.

“The solution cannot just be electric. The vehicles have to be apt for the requirement of the Indian market,” Suzuki said while adding that Suzuki will have products powered by hybrids, ethanol, CNG and hydrogen.

Last year, India witnessed EV volumes of nearly 50,000 units. While this represented a penetration of 1.3% at the total domestic level, for some players like Tata Motors the penetration was much higher at nearly 10%. The Mumbai-based company will significantly scale up production following the buyout of the Ford plant in Gujarat, which it intends to use for EV production.

The Expo, however, saw several big names missing. More than 30 automotive brands, including almost the entire pack of luxury carmakers such as Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Jaguar Land Rover, gave the event a skip. Two-wheeler companies like Hero MotoCorp, Bajaj Auto, TVS Motor Company, which control about 95% of the domestic market, were also missing in action.

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First published on: 12-01-2023 at 06:15 IST