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Auto Expo 2018: The industry’s getting ready for the electric vehicle journey, SIAM

Auto Expo 2018 saw as many as 28 electric vehicles being unveiled or showcased. These include 11 in the cars segment, five in buses, two each in small commercial vehicles and three-wheelers and eight in two-wheelers segment. The society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) has said the industry is fast getting ready for the EV journey.

AutoExpo2018 Updated: Feb 12, 2018 20:15 IST
Press Trust of India
The Mahindra eKUV100 which was unveiled at the Auto Expo 2018.
The Mahindra eKUV100 which was unveiled at the Auto Expo 2018. (AFP)

With a total of “market- ready” 28 electric vehicles across different segments being unveiled at the ongoing Auto Expo 2018, the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) on Monday said the auto industry is fast getting ready for the EV journey while calling for the government to put in place a long-term policy to address various issues, including charging infrastructure.

For Auto Expo 2018 full coverage, click here

SIAM also reiterated its demand for reducing GST rate on pure electric vehicles (EV) to 5% from the current 12% in order to make products affordable and popularise the technology. “This year at the Auto Expo we have seen launch of market-ready electric vehicles, not just concepts, across various categories. This shows that the auto industry is getting ready very fast with EVs,” said SIAM Director General Vishnu Mathur.

Mahindra's e2o NXT electric car at the expo. (AFP)

These EVs are from companies, including Tata Motors, Mahindra & Mahindra, Ashok Leyland, Lohia and JBM, among others across various applications from passenger vehicles to busses and two-wheelers, he added. Mathur said out of the total EV launches, 11 were in cars segment, five in buses, two each in small commercial vehicles and three-wheelers and eight in two-wheelers segment. “Now what is required is the infrastructure, specially for charging these EVs. Otherwise, we won’t get to where we want to with this technology,” he said.

As per government’s vision, 100 per cent of public mobility and 40 per cent of personal mobility are envisaged to be EVs by 2030. SIAM, on the other hand in its vision document had aimed for 100 per cent of all forms of mobility to be EVs by 2047.

Honda’s Sports EV Concept car at the auto show. (REUTERS)

In this backdrop, Mathur said though already there is scheme like FAME to promote EVs, what is required is a long- term policy on how to go about meeting the targets with well- defined milestones and how government can provide support in the process. With the current cost of EVs very high, he said it could dissuade customers over and above the concerns related to battery charging. “These are issues that needs to be addressed. We feel that if a certain infrastructure is put in place and other support are provided, we can go to the next level,” he said.

On hybrids and other alternate fuels, Mathur said SIAM is preparing a white paper. “We feel that hybrids and other technologies will still have a role to play as we go forward. Even the development of internal combustion engines will continue as the size of the automobile market expands,” he said. Within the limited fund of the government, there could be targeted support for development of certain technology, although the industry is of the view that all forms of technologies must be encouraged to find eco-friendly solutions, he said.