Indian Auto Makers Readying Up For Electric Vehicle Revolution
The move is expected to bring down battery costs significantly, which at present is imported from China
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Indian government’s effort to promote electric vehicles gets a major boost as Suzuki Motors, the parent company of the country’s largest carmaker Maruti Suzuki India Ltd (MSIL) has announced the setting up of a lithium ion battery unit in Gujarat.
Suzuki along with its partners Toshiba and Denso will invest around Rs 1,150 crore for a new unit to produce lithium ion batteries which will be operational by 2020. The three entities inked an agreement to tap the growing electric vehicle market in India. According to a report, Suzuki Motors has decided to make electric cars at its factory in Gujarat.
The move is expected to bring down battery costs significantly, which at present is imported from China.
Not only this, Suzuki Motor Corp (SMC) Chairman Osamu Suzuki said the company will invest Rs 3,800 crore on the third plant in Gujarat which will have a production capacity of 2.5 lakh units annually.
Besides Maruti Suzuki, other auto companies are also speeding up their investment and research to meet Modi government’s ambitious 2030 deadline for the electrification of cars.
Mahindra & Mahindra, the only company to have fully electric cars operating in the Indian market, is gearing up to bring electric options in its popular models Scorpio and XUV500. As per reports, the company is investing Rs 300-400 crore in the development of electric vehicles and has plans to manufacture batteries.
Home-grown auto major Tata Motors’ wholly-owned UK-based subsidiary Tata Motors European Technical Centre (TMETC) is in the final stage of launching the electric version of its popular hatchback Tiago.
The company claims that the Tiago EV will accelerate from 0-100 kph in about 11 seconds in sports mode and is capable of a top speed of 135 kph. The all-electric variant of the Tiago uses an 85 kW motor that churns out 200 Nm of torque.
India’s second largest carmaker Hyundai has said that an all-electric car is part of the 8 new model lineup it has for India by 2020. Nissan Motors, another global biggie, recently showcased the all-new Leaf in Tokyo which it hopes to get to India in 2018. Leaf is the world’s largest-selling fully electric car capable of providing a driving range of 400kms.
Apart from the four-wheeler makers, two wheeler makers are also working on making electric vehicles in the next 2-3 years. Bajaj Auto Managing Director Rajiv Bajaj has revealed that the company is working on building a niche business in the electric vehicle space. According to the Bajaj MD, under the new brand, codenamed "Urbanite", the company will make premium electric vehicles which will go on sale before 2020.
The speed in the effort by auto companies can also be attributed to the fact that the government is stern about its decision to make India a hub for EVs. In recent times, it has taken many steps such as the huge difference in GST rates for EVs and non-EVs, giving a clear indication that it means to achieve its 2030 target.