The country’s biggest automobile festival, the Auto Expo, is all set to begin this Wednesday. This biennial Expo, is unlike the previous ones, as manufacturers are being nudged to shift to zero emission vehicles (read electric) amidst rising concerns related to air pollution and energy security. Companies have therefore lined up several electric vehicles (EVs) — cars, two-wheelers and commercial vehicles. The Expo will open for the public on February 9 and conclude on February 14.
In a way, the Expo has always been a reflection of what the policymakers want the domestic industry to follow. And, this year will be no different. Besides launches of completely new models that will be powered by regular combustion engines, electric-powered and green technology vehicles will be an all-pervasive theme of this year.
Maruti Suzuki, the country’s biggest carmaker, will showcase its first concept electric vehicle, the e-SURVIVOR. The company said this concept symbolised Maruti Suzuki’s commitment to help develop the entire lifecycle of EVs in India, including local manufacture of components, charging infrastructure and recycling of batteries. Besides this, the company will also showcase a working model of the hybrid vehicle system. Though the government has indicated a preference for electric vehicles, the company believes hybrid technology can reduce emission and fuel consumption in vehicles not addressed by EVs. Its nearest rival, Hyundai, is displaying the Ioniq electric vehicle. A hybrid variant of the Ioniq is also going to be on display. The company plans to introduce an electric car in the Indian market next year (imported as a completely knocked-down unit) to test the readiness and acceptability among buyers.
But, the electric mobility ambitions are not limited to four-wheelers. Two-wheeler makers are also gearing to showcase their capabilities in electric mobility. Japanese automobile major Honda, the second biggest player in the domestic two-wheeler market, will showcase an electric vehicle (EV) concept – the PCX Electric scooter. TVS Motor Company is also expected to showcase electric two-wheelers. Besides these bigger players, a number of start-ups are also ready to showcase their innovations in electric mobility. A total of 12 start-ups are exhibiting at the Expo, compared to only two in the 2016 edition.
With inputs from Shally Seth Mohile and T E Narasimhan