Auto Expo 2020: Electric Cars on Focus as India Chase Green Revolution
Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government wants all new cars on India's roads to be electric by 2030 to combat smog that routinely eclipses dangerous levels in the nation of 1.25 billion.
Electric cars are at the center of attention at India's flagship auto show, where an ambitious plan to phase out intoxicating pollutants causes manufacturers to compete to attract millions of new drivers to their green vehicles. Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government wants all new cars on India's roads to be electric by 2030 to combat the smog that usually overshadows dangerous levels in the nation of 1.25 billion people.
Some car giants at the New Delhi motor show have expressed reservations about the aggressive deployment, when so little of India is equipped to charge electric cars and most drivers can not afford the high prices. But few are willing to risk a golden opportunity in the fifth largest car market in the world, where owning a four-wheeled vehicle is a status symbol.
We firmly believe in electricity, and with a leap of faith, we started investing even before the announcement of the government, "said Mahesh Babu, CEO of Mahindra Electric, currently the only company that produces electric vehicles in India." Pioneer in electronic mobility ", invested $ 75 million in its electric fleet since 2010 with another $ 90 million to increase production in the next three years, said Babu.
Others are competing to produce competitive models at lower prices, with Maruti Suzuki, the largest passenger car manufacturer in India, which promises to launch an electric car in Auto Expo 2020. As part of the large sales, Maruti has invested $ 180 million in a new plant to build lithium. -ion batteries in partnership with Japan Denso and Toshiba.
Tata Motors, part of the growing tea-to-steel conglomerate, in September won a contract to supply 10,000 electric cars for the government. The cars, priced at almost $ 15,500, are the government's first attempt to replace its fleet of half a million diesel and gasoline drinkers with electric vehicles.
Tata Motors is also experimenting with electric buses, and is looking to renovate its popular small Nano model as a battery-powered vehicle. Car ownership is steadily increasing in Asia's third largest economy, where four million new cars were sold in 2016. PriceWaterhouseCoopers expects annual sales to increase to almost seven million by 2022.
But most of the money still runs on gasoline and diesel, worsening already atrocious air quality in a country that is among the most polluted in the world. A government report in May said that mobility of passengers through shared and electric vehicles can reduce India's energy demand by 64 percent and carbon emissions by 37 percent by Auto Expo 2020.
India is not alone in wanting all-electric cars (Britain and France hope to achieve this by 2040), but New Delhi wants to go faster than others. But the transition has been slow, and some global automotive giants hesitate to take the step in India.
Mercedes described the 2030 deadline as a hurry, while Elon Musk postponed the release in India of its Tesla Model 3. The California-based company is scheduled to open a factory in China, India's regional rival where the car market Electricity is booming.
At the auto show in New Delhi, automakers pointed out that India lacked the charging points needed to refuel exhausted batteries, a major obstacle to making electric cars across the country.
"Who will develop this, who will fund this?" All this is not clear at this time, it is absolutely a crystal ball, "said Manohar Bhat of South Korean giant Kia Motors, which is expected to soon discover an electric vehicle exclusively for the Indian . market.
Other suppliers at the car show said that getting enough lithium to build batteries for millions of electric vehicles would be a challenge and expensive. Mahesh Bendre, an automotive analyst at Karvi Stock Broking, said electric cars would only succeed in India if the price was right.
"The government can push it to a certain point, but in the end it will be reduced to making the right product available to consumers at the right price," he told AFP.
All-electric cars are expected to make up 12 percent of the global market by 2025, according to Bank of America Merrill Lynch analysts last year. But that participation is expected to reach a third by Auto Expo 2020 and by 90 percent by mid-century.
Bhat, from Kia, said that different markets would turn electric when the time was right.
"I would not say we've missed the bus," he said.