Firms waiting for clarity on policy before bringing EVs to India

New Delhi: Multinational automakers making electric vehicles for overseas markets are hesitant to introduce them in India until the government frames a clear policy on EVs.

Renault India Pvt. Ltd, Ford Motor India Pvt. Ltd, Hyundai Motor India, Mercedes Benz Pvt. Ltd and Fiat Chrysler (FCA India Pvt. Ltd) have no immediate EV plans for India, executives at these companies said.

Hyundai Motor India, the country’s second largest car maker, showcased an electric vehicle under the Ioniq brand at the Delhi Auto Expo. The company plans to launch one electric vehicle here in 2019 to test customer reaction.

Last month, managing director and CEO Y.K. Koo had told Mint in an interview that with this model, Hyundai wants to showcase the technology, and will import the car as a completely knocked down (CKD) unit.

“We need a clear picture from the government but we cannot wait. Still, we are waiting for a detailed roadmap to be proposed and developed by the Niti Aayog,” he had said.

Answering a query on launching an electric variant of Kwid in India, a spokesperson for Renault India said it is a great opportunity for the industry; however, the government has to put in place a clear policy, time-frame and get the pre-requisite infrastructure ready to enable automobile OEMs prepare for the planned switch to electric vehicles.

Globally, Ford Motor Co. plans to introduce 22 electrified vehicles of which 16 will be fully electric vehicles. On India, though, it is yet to take a decision.

Ford Motor India expects India’s EV policy to be out in the first quarter of 2018-19, managing director Anurag Mehrotra said, adding at that point, it will be able to bring out or at least talk about possible product configurations.

“If you look at the top five electric vehicle brands in the world, Ford is clearly one of them and globally, we have announced $4.5 billion in electrification. Till such time we have a policy framework, it’s a little difficult. It is like shooting in the dark. So, you have to be careful that you get your policy and once it is done, we will be able to come back,” Mehrotra said.

According to Business Insider news website, German luxury car maker Mercedes Benz plans to invest $11 billion globally on electrified products.

The company, though, still does not have any plan to launch a pure electric vehicle in India.

“We hope this is spelt out in the policy that somebody has to build the infrastructure. So, if the manufacturers have to invest in power supply on the highways and so forth, then I don’t think anybody in the automotive industry will be able to do that,” said Roland Folger, managing director and CEO, Mercedes Benz India.

“Not completely clear what will happen with regulation, how the India market will adopt. Regulation is one of the few inhibitors to electrification but it can overcome everything, including the cost work. We’ll have a fully electric bus power train by the end of 2019 but no India launch,” said Julie Farber, executive director, electrification, Cummins Inc.

“It is fair on the automakers’ part to ask for a proper policy framework and for one electric vehicle to be brought to India will require a lot of capital investment. So, it is fair on them to ask for a policy. They really want to be really sure that there is clear policy from the government since subsidies are important because as of now, there is not a strong case for customers to shift towards electric vehicles,” said Anil Sharma, automotive forecasting, IHS Markit.livemint


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