Auto Expo 2012: Hybrid cars and electric vehicles make their presence felt at 2012 Auto Expo
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The recently concluded 2012 New Delhi Auto Expo received its fair share of electric vehicles (EVs) and hybrid cars, with Toyota, Chevrolet, Mahindra, Nissan and Tata presenting their alternative fuel vehicles. This shows that these car makers believe that EVs and hybrids are the vehicles of the future, even for a country like India, which presently lacks the basic infrastructure for running such cars.
On top of the list is Reva NXR, which is the newest iteration of the India's own Reva brand of EVs. The company was bought by Mahindra & Mahindra last year and it seems that the new owner has focussed upon increasing passenger seating space. The new Reva NXR is a 4 seater model, rather than a 2 seater like its predecessor, which will be officially launched in the country by Diwali 2012. It is speculated that the company is trying to keep it within the price range of Rs. 4-5 lacs, making sure that the EV is accessible to the masses. Tata Motors was another Indian maker to showcase a homemade electric car, the latest version of the Indigo Manza sedan.
Another EV that attracted many visitors was Toyota Prius, one of the most recognisable electric cars in the world. The new Prius exhibited at the 11th edition of the Auto Expo is placed within the price bracket of Rs. 27.38 lacs and Rs. 29.4 lacs. Chevrolet has also displayed its Volt, which is known as the first ever mass produced electric vehicle. This sedan is showcased on Chevrolet's stands at the Expo, alongside the all-new Chevrolet Beat BEV (Battery Electric Vehicle). The company also put a new concept vehicle EN-V or Electric Networked-Vehicle on display at its stall, a two-seater that will run on electricity.
Nissan joined the fray with its newly launched Leaf, giving the Japanese giant an EV at an early stage of the market. Volkswagen showcased its XL1 diesel hybrid concept model at the event, which attracted many visitors because of its stylish looks rather than the technology it runs on. Peugeot came to the Expo for the first time with its 3008, another hybrid to make its presence felt at the mega show. Even the buses were not behind in this segment as Volvo showcased a hybrid bus for the inter-city transport segment. Hero MotoCorp, an India-based two-wheeler maker, also showcased the concept model of a hybrid scooter, called Lead.
Though auto manufacturers are making efforts to promote green transport technologies in the country, many are also raising their concerns regarding the ability of the country to adopt the same. According to Andy Palmer, Nissan Motors, "India is ready for good fuel efficiency. But hybrid, no, I don't think so. It's an expensive way of topping up the last 10 per cent of a fuel engine's capability. Hybrid isn't the answer for India.” However, this may prove to be untrue in the coming time if the cars are reasonably priced and the country gets the requisite infrastructure.
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