Honda setting up plans to roll out affordable e-cars in India

  • Published | 30 October 2018
Carmakers are racing up with a strategy focused on India to cash in on the Modi government’s push to promote usage of all-electric vehicles by 2030.
India: After Maruti Suzuki and Toyota announced an alliance to tap the electric vehicle market in India, Honda Cars India Limited (HCIL) is readying an electric vehicle strategy aligned with the needs of the Indian market. The wave towards the increasing demand for Electric Vehicles, owing to its positive impact on the environment, has already been established within the major automobile players, and is working towards their upcoming models of Electric vehicles. These changes will further have a positive impact on the emerging market of electric vehicles in the foreseeable future. Thus the shift to electric vehicles from the conventional combustion engine vehicles will fetch a change in the overall ecosystem of the Automobile industry. As part of the strategy, HCIL, the Indian subsidiary of the Japanese carmaker is evaluating developing country-specific battery electric vehicles addressing the issue of affordability and its suitability under Indian traffic conditions. HCIL strives to plan battery EV models that will be best suitable for the traffic conditions in India in view of the usage including traveling distance. Honda, which globally expects as much as 65% of its sales to come from electrified vehicles in 2030, has already established within Honda R&D (Japan) an Electric Vehicle Development Division — a specialized team which is in charge of developing the entire vehicle including the powertrain and body — to increase development speed of EVs. As the local market for electric vehicles is at a nascent stage, Honda is yet to outline schedules and models details for India. Honda Motor CEO Takahiro Hachigo declared at the Tokyo Motor Show that the company is planning to launch six models in India in the next three years, and the current favourite is the hybrid technology, as it is more suitable to consumers for its resemblance to the gasoline engine. Honda already has a hybrid powertrain solution on the Jazz and the mid-size sedan Grace in Japan, and these may be launched in India. Globally, Honda has been solidifying the development of battery EVs. The company started leasing Honda Clarity Electric sedan, a battery EV in the Clarity sedan series, in August 2017 in U.S. and recently disclosed Honda Urban EV Concept at the Frankfurt Motor Show and Sports EV concept at Tokyo Motor Show. The production version will be available in Europe in 2019 and Japan in 2020. It also announced to introduce a China-exclusive EV model in 2018. Last week, in a major push to the government green mobility drive, Toyota and Suzuki declared that the duo would commence local production of EVs by 2020. According to the agreement, Toyota will be responsible for the technical know-how for the project, while Suzuki will manufacture the vehicles for the Indian market and also supply some to Toyota. Additionally, the companies will launch activities to support widespread acceptance and use of electric vehicles in India. These will include setting up of charging infrastructure, human resource development including training for after-service technicians and systems for appropriate treatment of end-of-life batteries. Separately, Korean car maker Hyundai too is evaluating its green mobility solution for the Indian market. According to BlueWeave Consulting, India automotive industry is at the flourishing stage, supportive government policies and high public & private sector investment in the region are booming the industry. Over the years the automotive industry will witness phenomenal growth with high investment from foreign investment companies. Increase in per capita income and rise in urban population has surged the demand for automobiles leading to higher revenue generation in the region. Prominent automotive companies are willing to enter into the market through acquisition and partnership, further government supportive policy is positively impacting the market. Companies are focusing on controlling cost, improving efficiency and utilization of alternative energy engines. Electric vehicles (EVs) are the most fuel-efficient reduces emissions and significantly lower energy costs, thus EVs are on high demand. Thus in near future, the market will witness significant growth. According to the report by BlueWeave Consulting on “Global Electric Commercial Vehicles Market, By Propulsion, By Vehicle Type, By Component Type, By Region- Industry Analysis, Size, Share, Growth, Trends & forecast by 2018-2024”, the Global Electric Commercial Vehicle is projected to grow over a CAGR of 12% during the forecast period of 2018-2024 by value. The market is expected to reach around USD 149,316 Million by 2024. The demand for electric vehicles and charging station is governed by an increase in demand for fuel-efficient, high-performance, and low-emission vehicles. In addition, the trend of reduction in vehicular emission due to stringent rules & regulations in several countries and growth of public charging infrastructure in China, India, and the other developed countries are fuelling the market growth. According to the recently published report by BlueWeave Consulting on “Global Electric Vehicle Charging Station Market, By Product Type, By Installation Type, By Suppliers Type, By Region- Industry Analysis, Size, Share, Growth, Trends & forecast by 2018-2025”, the growth is attributed to an increased deployment of charging stations at public places such as shopping malls, commercial buildings, airports, and restaurants. The convenience of being able to use an EV charger while shopping or during office hours is expected to boost the adoption of electric vehicles. Furthermore, government offerings, such as tax credits, on the installation of publicly accessible stations are expected to boost the market.