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Eeny, meeny, miny, moe, Hybrid is the way to go

Vikram Gulati, the Country Head and Senior Vice President, Toyota Kirloskar Motor, says why Toyota is headed in the direction of self-charging hybrids instead of fully-electric vehicles despite having the technology.

Eeny, meeny, miny, moe, Hybrid is the way to go

For a company that has an extensive portfolio of clean mobility such as hydrogen-powered cars, electric vehicles, self-charging hybrids, plug-in hybrids, and ethanol-powered cars, Toyota is betting big on hybrid tech for India — especially the self-charging hybrids like the Hyryder.

When most carmakers have jumped directly from petrol and diesel engines to pure electric mobility, Toyota is banking on self-charging hybrid engines and is also expanding its portfolio. The Hyryder is the first and the upcoming Innova Hycross is the next in line.

“The common enemy we are fighting against is carbon emissions and shifting away from fossil fuels. When looking at carbon emissions, we have to look at the issue in its entirety, not just tailpipe emissions. We have to look at a few factors when we are making that transition — the ecosystem and the consumer,” says Vikram Gulati, the Country Head and Senior Vice President, Toyota Kirloskar Motor.

He adds that the consumers and the ecosystem are diverse globally, for example, the scenario in Scandinavia is different compared to Brazil, and both are different compared to India. For the transition to happen, Toyota needs acceptability from consumers. He says, “We need to look at the price sensitivity and convenience. One needs to look at the time it takes for an electric vehicle to charge, the availability of EV charging infrastructure, and others.”

The country head adds, “These are the critical areas to consider from a customer’s point of view. We also need to look at the ecosystem from the manufacturer’s side and the consumer’s. In India, the infrastructure is just emerging, and the price sensitivity of the consumer is also very high. Indian carmakers are still setting up an ecosystem since many components are still imported, and the electricity itself is majorly dependent on coal.”

“Holistically looking at all of these, one needs to see which clean mobility technology gives you the maximum benefit, and it only makes sense to offer that solution. Doing so will make acceptance much faster and offers the best benefits to society. In that way, hybrid vehicles make the most sense in terms of lower wheel-to-wheel carbon emission, better acceptability because there are no challenges in charging, and in terms of pricing as well.”

Gulati also points out that since there are common parts between hybrid and electric vehicles, this will eventually open up more demand encouraging people to invest, thus creating an ecosystem that will help transition to other clean mobility solutions faster. “That’s the direction we are working on and investing in components,” he adds.

Toyota is working on localising components such as power control units, batteries, and motors, which will be common for vehicles that will run on electricity, hybrid, or fuel cells.

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