Maruti Suzuki opines that Indian customers are still not ready for electric cars as the challenges for EVs in India will take years to overcome before mass adoption. In an interview with livemint.com, Maruti Suzuki’s Managing Director, Mr Kenichi Ayukawa has said that selling EVs in India currently face major challenges like high cost and inadequate charging infrastructure.
This statement from Maruti comes at a time when many of its competitors are launching electric vehicles with a range of over 300 km/charge. Hyundai launched Kona in 2019 and is working on an affordable electric car for 2022 (sub Rs. 10 lakh price). MG Motor India has also launched its first electric car with MG ZS EV and has showcased other EVs at the Auto Expo 2020, promising its affordable EV within 3 years. Homegrown brands Tata Motors and Mahindra have launched the Nexon EV at Rs 13.99 lakhs and eKUV100 at Rs 8.25 lakh respectively, making the EVs more affordable and have lined up multiple battery-operated cars.
Maruti’s customer base mostly comprises people looking to buy affordable small and mid-segment vehicles, and buyers of such products are not so eager to purchase an electric vehicle, which is costlier than a petrol or diesel vehicle. We have to watch the customers and when they want that kind of a product, then we have to offer that kind of an offering. We cannot find that kind of a requirement at this moment. But we have to prepare ourselves.Kenichi Ayukawa, Maruti Suzuki Managing Director
Maruti Suzuki started testing 50 electric cars based on Japanese Wagon R in 2018 and many were expecting the company to launch its first production vehicle (this is based on the Indian Heartect-based Wagon R) at the Auto Expo 2020 but to no avail. The company did, however, showcase the Futuro-e, a future-ready electric SUV concept at the expo. and has announced that it will sell a million ‘green’ cars over the coming years under its ‘Mission Green Million’ program, powered by CNG, hybrids and electric cars. The company has revealed that it will eventually introduce its first electric vehicle in 2021.
For now, Maruti Suzuki will be focusing on petrol, CNG and hybrid models. The country’s largest carmaker is also urging the government to reduce the goods and services tax for hybrid and CNG vehicles from the current 28%.