‘I see hybrids as a serious contender for reducing pollution in India’ | business | Hindustan Times
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‘I see hybrids as a serious contender for reducing pollution in India’

In a candid chat with Sumant Banerji, John P Absmerier, director, business development, Asia Pacific, Delphi, talks about hybrids and their potentials.

business Updated: Aug 03, 2009 18:16 IST
Sumant Banerji

A combination of diverse factors like global warming, reduced forest cover, rampant urbanisation and high congestion on city roads leading to pollution have suddenly made hybrid vehicles the buzz word in the automotive industry not only in India but around the world. India saw its first hybrid launch last year with the Civic hybrid but experts believe that it is just a modest beginning. In a candid chat with

Sumant Banerji

, John P Absmerier, director, business development, Asia Pacific, Delphi, talks about hybrids and their potentials.

How is the Hybrid car industry doing worldwide?
The industry is picking up in North America not only a result of increased fuel costs, but mainly due to a shift in the consumer’s perception of and support for environmentally friendly vehicles. Saving the planet through green initiatives has become a trend. In Europe, hybrid development and vehicle launches are also gaining momentum. Although many original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) in Asia have been working on hybrid technology for several years, only recently they have picked up.

What are your views on the uptake of this technology in India?
Urban environment and traffic congestion go hand in hand, and I see hybrids as a serious contender for reducing pollution and improving fuel consumption in India. Vehicles spend a large portion of there operational life either at idle or moving at very slow speed in Indian urban traffic. This is the ideal drive cycle for a hybrid or electric vehicle. With many stops and starts, a hybrid can significantly reduce fuel consumption and emissions.

Do you think Indian OEMs and customers are ready for such technology?
Currently, hybrid technology is cost prohibitive due to low vehicle sales volumes and low fuel prices, this is a circular pattern since the volumes won’t increase until cost comes down and cost won’t come down until volumes increase. Emissions legislation and consumer incentives can help to break this cycle.

What are the technological challenges OEM’s face in marketing Hybrid technology?
The biggest technology challenge for OEMs is systems integration and safety.

What are the other technologies you foresee coming into cars?
I think GDi (Gasoline direct injection) and Micro Hybrid Stop Start technology would become very important in the coming years.