New and environment-friendly mobility solutions are engaging the automobile industry like never before. From two-wheeler to passenger and commercial vehicle manufacturers, companies are keen on exploiting the electric and hybrid technology. The momentum picked up after the government last April launched the Faster Adoption of Manufacturing of (Hybrid and) Electric Vehicles in India or FAME that offers cash incentives to buyers and manufacturers.
The buzz and action around electric vehicles (EVs) started almost a week before the Auto Expo kickstarted with two major companies — Kinetic and Hero Electric — launching EVs last week. Hero Electric launched electric scooters and a light electric dumper. Kinetic introduced its indigenously designed battery operated e-Auto named ‘Kinetic Safar’. The Pune-based company has won an order worth Rs 400 crore to supply 27,000 e-Autos to the Uttar Pradesh government over the next 12 months.
“We are committed to our vision to provide green mobility to the country and look forward to consistent innovation towards developing remarkable products for the Indian EV market,” said Naveen Munjal, managing director, Hero Eco Group. Not limiting itself to mere end products, the company is also looking to set up as many as 100 charging stations in the capital.
At the Auto Expo 2016, the emphasis on electric and hybrid alternatives is more than evident. While this year Hero MotoCorp is focusing on its green initiatives at its stall and also showcased an electric scooter design concept Duet-E, Mahindra unveiled the GenZe 2.0, the first connected all-electric scooter.
In the passenger carrier light commercial vehicle space, Mahindra is showcasing the Supro electric van at the expo. This van is an eight-seater zero-emission mini-van powered by lithium ion batteries. Mahindra also unveiled its electric sports performance car, e2o sport, and electric Verito sedan. The company is pitching these products as zero-emission vehicles that will help reduce the carbon footprint.
“The electric vehicles on display today reflect Mahindra’s vision of the Future of Mobility, which we believe would lead to the creation of more sustainable urban areas in the future,” said Anand Mahindra, chairman, Mahindra Group.
Off the many launches in this segment Volkswagen, which internationally has been in the eye of the storm over an emissions scandal, unveiled its hybrid Passat. Japanese auto major Honda also showcased a hybrid version of its sedan Accord. Its sister company in the two-wheeler space Honda Motorcycle & Scooter displayed its EV Cub concept. The company said that the Cub is the next generation motor-equipped personal commuter for short distances. Korean auto major Hyundai is showcasing its Sonata plug in hybrid sedan. “This product is doing well in our overseas markets. However, there is no immediate plan to bring it to India,” said a company official.
Toyota, which has been selling its hybrid sedan Camry in India for the last few years, displayed its range of hybrid and fuel cell vehicles, including the Mirai hydrogen car. It also introduced a brand new version of its global segment leading hybrid vehicle Prius for the Indian market.
The electric wave is also catching the attention of commercial vehicle manufacturers. Not to be left behind, heavy vehicle manufacturers like Tata Motors and Ashok Leyland also displayed concepts. Tata is showcasing concepts of hybrid and electric buses while Ashok Leyland previewed the Hybus, claiming it to be the country’s first non-plugin hybrid bus. Component-maker JBM, which has entered into bus manufacturing, also unveiled an electric bus.