Government push for electric vehicle (EVs) is gaining momentum as Maruti’s Japanese parent Suzuki Motor plans to make electric cars at its factory in Gujarat. Suzuki will use India as a key global manufacturing base for selling electric vehicle in India and abroad.
The company will also set up a lithium-ion battery factory that will charge electric, hybrid and other vehicles from fixed kiosks. While Denso will provide technology for setting-up lithium-ion battery factory, Toshiba will power cell modules.
Collectively, Suzuki, Denso and Toshiba will invest about $180 million for the plant, which is expected to be functional by 2020. The manufacturing unit will power Maruti and Suzuki’s electric vehicles fleet comprising of existing petrol and diesel models as well as new EVs.
Suzuki’s decision to manufacture EVs in India is a big push to government’s ambitious project to turn India into electric vehicle hub by 2030. At present, less than 1% of the 200 million vehicles on Indian roads are estimated to be electric vehicles.
With government push for electric vehicle market, there will be a requirement for new and pollution free, efficient vehicle components such as high-density batteries. It will also create a need to set up a global technology centre in the motors design and manufacturing space.
The complete transition EVs will need a considerable investment of Rs 1.8 lakh crore in setting up charging stations and other infrastructure in the country, according to a report by Feedback Consulting.
The Indian government also announced to support at least 60 percent of R&D cost for developing an indigenous low-cost electric technology, in January this year.
Earlier this month, Minister of Road Transport & Highways Nitin Gadkari had warned automakers in the country to move to vehicles that run on electricity, biodiesel, ethanol and compressed natural gas. However, automobile manufacturers aren’t happy with government excessive push for EVs.
Roland Forger, CEO of Mercedes Benz India had expressed his concerns over local supplier of batteries to power electric vehicles.
Taking on the government’s view to bulldoze automobile industry to pave way for pollution free electric vehicles (EVs), Maruti Suzuki chairman RC Bhargava said that the government can’t kill the industry for the sake of it.