Electric cars are coming to India. Photo: iStock
Electric cars are coming to India. Photo: iStock

India’s top carmakers have looked to shed their doubts about the government’s push for electric vehicles and are now seriously building models and portfolios – which will start to be revealed in coming days.

Nearly 50 electric and hybrid vehicles will be unveiled at the Auto Expo 2018, being held at Greater Noida near New Delhi from February 9 to 14, Economic Times has reported. That is a staggering increase given that the car show in 2016 had only one automaker displaying electric vehicles.

But it is perhaps not surprising as the government has said that by 2030 most new cars will be electric vehicles.

Most of the working models at the Auto Expo that starts on Friday are two or three years away from getting on the road – not the “concept” vehicles usually displayed at auto shows. But they should be relevant to India, as most will be affordable for the country’s price-conscious buyers.

Leading manufacturers such as Maruti Suzuki, the Indian arm of Japan’s Suzuki Motors, Hyundai Motor India, Mahindra & Mahindra, Tata Motors, Toyota, Renault, BMW and Mercedes-Benz will showcase electric-automotive technologies at the expo.

Electric mobility specialists like Sweden’s Uniti and two-wheeler makers such as Honda will also showcase products.

Mahindra & Mahindra will unveil six new electric vehicles, two of which will be concepts.

Toyota Kirloskar Motors will display a “pure” electric vehicle, two hybrids and a plug-in hybrid, while Kia will bring a “pure” electric vehicle and two plug-in hybrid vehicles.

French carmaker Renault will have its Zoe e-Sport on display, while BMW will have the i8 and the i3s, and Mercedes-Benz will reveal its “concept” EQ.

Maruti Suzuki will display its futuristic e-Survivor and also have a working model of its next-generation hybrid technology, which powers the Suzuki Solio in Japan.

Maruti Suzuki is working on a 2020 launch of its first affordable electric car, while Hyundai is likely to roll out an electric vehicle next year.

However, to usher in an electric-car revolution, India will have to address constraints related to infrastructure where the cars can get a recharge. With many parts of the country not having an adequate supply of electric power, this could prevent electric cars from becoming popular.

Aside from the environmental appeal, the Indian government is pushing for electric vehicles to cut down on costly imports of fossil fuels. The falling costs of renewable energy and cheaper lithium-ion batteries used in these vehicles are other factors.

If cheap renewable energy is available in some areas, it could be used to fuel electric vehicles.

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