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EVs as the future of automotive industry in India

  • The past few years have been excellent for the automotive industry in India; however sales have started stagnating in the last couple of quarters. Fuel prices have constantly been on an upswing and it has started to put off car buyers. The price of oil is unlikely to come down, at least over the next year, and most likely beyond it. Along with this, pollution due to vehicular emissions continues to pose problems, with air quality deteriorating in major Indian cities. Both the industry and consumers are looking for viable alternatives for personal mobility and the industry seems to be betting on electric vehicles (EV).

    After a good response received by the hybrid car Toyota Prius, the automotive industry has started veering towards EVs. Cars like Nissan Leaf and Chevy Volt are seen as viable alternatives to cars with IC engines. In India, Reva looks very promising, and with Mahindra acquiring a majority stake in the company, we can expect new and better models from this line. Tata Nano EV, the electric version of the world’s cheapest car, is also in the pipeline; while GM is planning to launch an electric version of either Chevrolet Spark or the Beat in 2011. More companies are expected to join the EV bandwagon in India, and with the combination of right technologies, infrastructure and policies, EVs on Indian roads are expected to be a common sight as early as 2015!

    Prices of EVs are expected to come down drastically as companies manufacturing these cars achieve economies of scale. The government has started showing interest in this direction with the finance minister proposing in the 2011 union budget to set up a National Mission for Hybrid and Electric cars. While some sops have already been announced, the government may, in the next couple of years, reduce taxes and duties on such non-polluting vehicles and may even provide some rebates for car owners, which will make EVs very attractive to middle class car buyers.

    Cars moving from IC engines to hybrids and EVs will be a major shift in personal mobility. This change will result in a range of new opportunities not only for auto companies and existing auto ancillary suppliers, but will also open up a whole new market for companies involved in electric parts and solutions. The whole infrastructure for charging EVs will have to be set-up from scratch, from public charging points to personal charging stations for individual EV owners. This alone represents opportunities worth millions of dollars in major cities. Other opportunities lie in manufacturing of batteries, electric motors and controllers, electric drives, and a range of electrical parts, including the wiring harness, charger and integrated circuits. Maintenance and servicing demand for these components will create some completely new lines of businesses as well.


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