Underlining that affordability will hold key to the success of electric vehicles (EVs) in India, Maruti Suzuki India chairman R C Bhargava said that some government incentive would be required to make such vehicles affordable, as the country moves towards the eco-friendly solution for mobility.
“I think it will be required… My gut feeling is that yes, some kind of intervention would be required but I don’t know to what extent,” Bhargava told reporters when asked if government incentives would be needed to support EV transition in India.
While Maruti Suzuki plans to launch its first EV in India in 2020 and also set up charging stations, Bhargava also said that MSIL will launch a survey over the next couple of weeks to find a ground reality on electric vehicles such as where people park and charging infrastructure and what people are thinking about EVs. “If EV program has to succeed, it must meet the customer’s expectations… This survey is going to provide us the first reliable data from the ground,” said Bhargava. He further said that affordability is a major challenge that EVs will face and for them to be successful, focus has to be on manufacturing batteries and other components within the country to bring cost down. He said that since electric vehicles are a new development for the Indian auto industry, the survey will also give some idea on what the consumers expect and how much government support would be needed.
Stressing the need for electric cars to be within the reach of consumers, he said that 75 per cent of cars are small ones and it needs to be seen as to how small cars electrified and affordable. “I think this is one of the challenges which we will have to face because making an affordable large car is different from making an affordable small car. We need to keep that in mind. So, what kind of government support, policy is required needs to be worked out,” he said. The government plans to have 100 per cent EVs for public mobility and 40 per cent electric for personal mobility by 2030. On the future of conventional internal combustion engine vehicles, he said it will continue to grow.