Tata, Maruti mull foray into electric vehicles market with govt help

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times
Mumbai
First Published: 11:00 IST(5/12/2013)
Last Updated: 11:09 IST(5/12/2013)
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Tata Motors and Maruti Suzuki may soon enter the electric vehicle market after Mahindra & Mahindra (M&M) as India plans to execute an ambitious programme that hopes to have 1.5 million electric cars and pickups by 2020, a government official said.

Besides M&M’s Reva, Tata Motors and Maruti Suzuki have shown interest in participating the government’s upcoming pilot project to provide last-mile connectivity for Delhi Metro Rail passengers using electric four-wheelers, said Ambuj Sharma, additional secretary, ministry of heavy industries, on the sidelines of a recent Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (Siam) conference in Mumbai.

“In a circuit of 5-6 kilometres, electric four-wheelers can be pressed into service,” Sharma said.

M&M has plans to bring out an electric version of its people carrier Maxximo. Tata Motors has already launched an electric version of its small truck Ace in the UK. The company may also launch an electric version of Magic, the people-carrier on the Ace platform.

Maruti also has developed an electric version of its six -seater Eeco. However, manufacturers have not yet revealed their plans because they are waiting for the government to announce subsidies for electric vehicles.

The electric vehicle subsidy, which was withdrawn in March 2012, is likely to be restored by April 2014. Sharma said that the ministry has conducted an analysis of total ownership costs of electric cars and two-wheelers and arrived at a consensus on subsidies for electric vehicles.

The demand for electric vehicles currently isn’t encouraging as high prices and lack of charging infrastructure dampen customer interest.

“About 9 million fourwheelers will be sold by 2020. We expect electric vehicles to account for 17-18% of this,” said Sharma.


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