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Electric Vehicles This Week: Mahindra To Dabble In Electric Cabs; Tesla Says No Production Issues With Model 3

Electric Vehicles This Week: Mahindra To Dabble In Electric Cabs; Tesla Says No Production Issues With Model 3

Important Developments From The World Of Electric Vehicles [25-31 January]

While the Union Budget took the centre stage this week, electric vehicles managed to get ample media attention, thanks largely to the upcoming Auto Expo 2018. To be held between February 9 and February 14 in Delhi/NCR, the auto show will see major automotive companies like Tata Motors, Hyundai and Maruti Suzuki showcasing futuristics EV concept cars.

South Korean carmaker Hyundai is gearing up to launch an electric vehicle in India by 2019, a year before Maruti Suzuki will enter the segment. To that end, the company has committed $1 Bn towards the Indian market. UK-headquartered Jaguar Land Rover (JRL), on the other hand, has announced that it will wait for India to have an EV Policy before introducing electric cars in the country.

In other news, India’s first EV maker Mahindra and Mahindra is reportedly set to the market of electric cabs. Additionally, the Mumbai-based company is planning to convert its EV manufacturing unit into a supplier of electric car parts. Self-drive car rental platform Zoomcar, on the other hand, has set a target to onboard 12,500 electric vehicles by 2020.

On the international front, California is aiming to increase electric vehicle sales, having set a target of 5 Mn zero-emission vehicles by 2030. In response to a recent report on possible manufacturing issues and delays with Tesla’s Model 3, the US-headquartered company has released a statement, denying any delay in the production of the electric luxury sedan.

Given that so much has been happening in the country’s electric vehicle sector, we bring to you the tenth edition of the weekly EV roundups.

Tata Motors To Unveil Six Electric Vehicles At Auto Expo

Electric vehicles will be the focal point at the upcoming Auto Expo 2018, with several automotive giants showcasing their own electric concept cars. Homegrown automaker Tata Motors will reportedly unveil a range of six electric vehicles across personal as well as mass mobility categories.

As per sources, the Mumbai-headquartered company has also announced that it will showcase as many as 26 smart mobility solutions in passenger and commercial car segments at the Auto Expo, which is scheduled to be held between February 9 and 14 at Greater Noida.

A spokesperson for Tata Motors added, “While we cannot comment on specifics, we can confirm that Tata Motors will indeed showcase an extended range of six electric vehicles, enabling personal and mass mobility, further reiterating our commitment to the government’s vision for electrification by 2030.”

Hyundai To Launch Electric Vehicle In India By 2019; Commits $1 Bn

South Korean carmaker Hyundai, on the other hand, is gearing up to introduce electric vehicles in India by 2019. If that happens, it will have beaten Maruti Suzuki, which is preparing to enter the segment by 2020. As per reports, the company has still not made a decision whether to launch an electric version of its brand Ioniq or introduce an entirely new electric SUB Model.

He said, “The product will be brought to India in a complete knocked down version (CKD) because we are not much assured of the success of EV products in the Indian market but to showcase that we have the technology. We are bringing this EV product as CKD to test the market.”

To that end, the automotive giant has announced plans to invest $1 Bn (INR 6,300 Cr) in the Indian market over the next three years. The investment, as per Koo, will be geared towards building new products, developing a powertrain and setting up a new office building. At the upcoming Auto Expo, Hyundai is reportedly looking to showcase 15 products, with a special focus on electric vehicles.

Mahindra To Dabble In Electric Cabs; Looks To Enter EV Parts Supply Market

The country’s first electric vehicles maker Mahindra and Mahindra is now set to start a business of operating electric cabs. Furthermore, the company is looking to turn its electric vehicles manufacturing unit into a supplier of EV parts.

Commenting on the development, Pawan Goenka, Managing Director of Mahindra and Mahindra said, “We have a different model for Mahindra Electric now, which (the company) is now a provider of electric kits and not a maker of Mahindra electric vehicles. So, it is like Intel Inside.”

Goenka added, “In a way, Mahindra has two electric vehicle businesses—one is to make electric vehicle kits that is Mahindra Electric, and the other is about selling electric vehicles, which is Mahindra & Mahindra. And if we get into mobility service, that will be the third business.”

This isn’t the first time that the company has hinted at entering the electric cab aggregator market. Back in July 2017, the Mahindra Group had announced plans to enter the Indian cab aggregator market with EVs against competitors like Uber and Ola.

Two Leading Motorcycle Makers Will Launch Flex Engine Bikes Soon: Nitin Gadkari

Two of the country’s leading two-wheeler manufacturers are set to introduce electric and flex engine motorcycles soon, Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari recently announced. A flexible fuel engine (also known as dual fuel engine) can run on both petrol and alternative fuels like ethanol.

During a recent media interaction, Gadkari also highlighted the need for improved ethanol production, with the aim of developing ethanol-powered transportation solutions.

He said, “By the end of this month, two two-wheeler manufacturers have promised to come up with electric as well as flex-engine motorcycles which can run both on petrol and ethanol. These can be run on 100% petrol and 100% ethanol.”

Electric Vehicles Industry Expects Incentives, Tax Benefits In Union Budget 2018

The electric vehicles industry is expecting a number of changes in this year’s Union Budget, geared towards promoting the market’s growth. According to sources close to the development, the central government will likely introduce incentives for EV manufacturers and buyers in the country.

As per reports, the government is also mulling lowering GST as well as extending tax benefits to buyers of electric vehicles. The move is in line with the long-term vision of attaining 100% electric vehicles in the public mobility segment and 40% in personal mobility by 2030.

A source in the know stated, “Finance Minister Arun Jaitley may announce tax benefits for the electric mobility in the Budget on 1 February 2018 as there has been a lot of brainstorming so far.”

Recently, the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) urged the government to reduce GST on electric vehicles and EV subsystems to 5%. As part of its recommendations, SIAM also asked the government to offer one-time income tax deduction of 30% on EVs for non-financed buyers, in a bid to expedite the adoption of electric vehicles.

JLR To Wait Until India Has An EV Policy Before Launching Electric Vehicles

UK-based automotive behemoth Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) has stated that it will wait for the Indian government to adopt an EV policy before launching electric vehicles in the country. Additionally, the company said that it will wait until BS-VI fuel is widely available in India before introducing vehicles that comply with the stricter emission norms.

As part of a recent media interaction, JLR India President and MD Rohit Suri said, “As far as the company is concerned, we have the product available to us. The question will be when would we bring them to India? That, we will have to watch how the ecosystem in India develops itself, which should be dependent on what kind of policy the government actually brings into play.”

He added, “The EV policy is still not out. So we are waiting for that, what’s there in the policy. Depending on that we will have to formulate our strategy how to enter. There is a slew of products already being prepared, many more are going to be coming up. First reveal is going to happen in Geneva (Motor Show) this year with the Jaguar iPace. So starting with that, which is a completely full EV, we have the products.”

Chinese Electric Bus Makers Eye Entry Into Indian EV Market

A number of Chinese electric bus manufacturers are reportedly looking to set up operations in India. To that end, several of these companies have already initiated talks with the Automotive Component Manufacturers Association (ACMA) as well as the Society of Manufacturers of Electric Vehicles (SMEV).

As per sources close to the development, as many as five China-based electric bus makers, including BYD Co. and Changsha Sunda New Energy Vehicles Technology, are currently exploring the market opportunity in India.

The person cited above said, “Most of these companies see huge potential in India, as the Union government also wants to convert the entire fleet of vehicles plying on Indian roads for public transport to electric by 2030. In China, the traditional battery-run electric vehicles did not get much traction. So most of these companies now see India as one of the markets where they can venture.”

Another source added, “Some of these companies have capacities for manufacturing 10,000 electric buses per annum in China and they also have the lithium-ion battery technology as well. So if they start manufacturing or assembling the vehicles they will bring these technologies along with them and India suppliers can learn from them by forging tie-ups or joint ventures.”

Zoomcar To Add 12,500 Electric Vehicles To Its Fleet By 2020

Bengaluru-headquartered self-drive car rental startup Zoomcar is looking to onboard up to 12,500 electric vehicles on its platform within the next two years. As stated by co-founder and CEO Greg Moran, the move is in line with the company’s aim to add 25,000 vehicles to its existing fleet by 2020.

By onboarding more cars, Moran hopes that the car rental platform will attain 8-fold growth over the next two years. Currently, it has a fleet of over 3,000 vehicles that collectively cater to more than 2 Mn registered users across the country.

Recently, in December 2017, Zoomcar turned EBITDA positive, driven primarily by the 40% growth in its revenue in 2017. During a recent interaction with Inc42, Moran revealed that the company had already onboarded 20 e2oPlus cars from Mahindra, as part of the partnership which is geared towards introducing electric vehicles and EV charging stations in Mysuru and Hyderabad.

Moran revealed that Zoomcar is aiming to add 500 electric cars to its fleet by the end of this quarter. He said, “When we combine electric mobility with shared mobility, we can reduce the overall operating costs by up to 80% because we would be subsidising it through the platform.”

100% Renewable Energy Powered EVs Could Help Save $626.8 Annually: Report

Electric vehicles powered 100% by renewable energy could help car owners save up to $626.8 (INR 40,000) in fuel costs annually, a new report by Bengaluru-based research firm Equitorials claimed. Titled “Help Delhi Breathe”, the report urged government-run think tank NITI Aayog to help India become a 100% renewable energy-powered EV nation by 2030.

Speaking about the report’s findings, Equitorials Managing Partner Jai Sharda said, “The cost of solar and wind energy in India has hit a tipping point: it is now significantly cheaper than coal-based power. This makes renewable energy the smart financial choice for India as it pursues the transition to electric vehicles.”

“Our analysis indicates that the expected further fall in the cost of solar and wind power by 2030, as well as the complete substitution of ICE (internal combustion engine) vehicle sales by electrical vehicles, could help India substitute oil imports of nearly $28 Bn,” Sharda added.

Developments From Around The World

California Looks To Boost EV Sales; Target 5 Mn Zero Emission Vehicles By 2030

California Governor Jerry Brown has announced plans to boost electric vehicle sales, having set a target of 5 Mn zero-emission vehicles by 2030. As part of the development, Jerry Brown signed an executive order to lower automobile pollution from cars and trucks, while also increasing sales of electric and zero-emission vehicles.

To facilitate the adoption of electric vehicles, the state’s government is looking to commit $2.5 Bn over the next eight years, with the aim of adding 250K charging stations and 200 hydrogen fuelling stations by 2025.

The development comes at a time when the Trump administration is considering rolling back the 2022-2025 fuel efficiency standards.

Tesla Squashes Reports Of Model 3 Malfunction And Production Issues

In response to a recent report by CNBC on possible manufacturing issues and delays with Tesla’s Model 3, the US-headquartered company has released a statement, denying any delay in the production of the electric luxury sedan.

A spokesperson for Tesla said, “To be absolutely clear, we are on track with the previous projections for achieving increased Model 3 production rates that we provided earlier this month. As has been well documented, until we reach full production, by definition some elements of the production process will be more manual.”

In the report, CNBC had claimed that Tesla has run into a host of problems with battery production at its Nevada-based Gigafactory. Citing sources close to the development, the publication stated that Tesla’s problems are so dire that the company had to resort to making batteries by hand and also borrowing employees from one of its suppliers for manual assembly.

The Indian government has been doubling down to meet its target of switching to 100% electric vehicles by 2030. To be able to attain this feat, however, there has to be a robust network of EV charging stations across the country. As an added push, the central and state governments are looking to offer incentives and subsidies to EV makers, car buyers and domestic battery manufacturers, in order to increase the production of electric vehicles and parts in the country. If successful, the shift to electric vehicles could potentially help India save up to $300 Bn (INR 20 Lakh Cr) in oil imports and nearly 1 gigatonne of carbon dioxide emissions by 2030, as per a recent report by FICCI and Rocky Mountain Institute.

Stay tuned for the next edition of our weekly series of Electric Vehicles Roundup!