Future and Impact of hybrid vehicles in India

Friday 28 September 2012, 10:58 AM by

The concept of hybrid vehicles is not an alien concept to the Indian car market and automatically induces pictures of a cutting-edge technology driven vehicle that can run on conventional fuels like diesel or petrol, besides having a compelling ability to run on electricity. The idea seems tempting to many but few have the courage to actually invest in such an undertaking. Primary reasons can be contributed to the high pricing of such vehicles, as well as the strong amount of uncertainty assumed with their ergonomics.

However, these 'futuristic' hybrid vehicles do attract significant amount of interest and admiration from the public, when they are showcased at the automotive shows in concepts and commercial guises. Thus, the car lovers surely are interested but due to the lack of popular products in the segment, refrain from investing their hard earned money in the uncertain hybrid domain.

Reva Electric Car Company, now christened as Mahindra Reva Electric Vehicles Private Limited (MREVPL), has been the foremost active player in Electric Vehicle (EV) segment in the country. The company has its roots in 26 countries where some 4,000 units of its flagship product the REVAi electric car is marketed in several versions. However, the car found little success in the domestic market with a range of problems, such as poor speed and battery life along with bad overall design and safety attributes.

Toyota also tried its hand at hybrid vehicles with the Prius car, which is also the world's first mass produced hybrid car. The Japanese auto maker received thunderous response from all over the world for the Prius car, but the car failed comprehensively in emulating its global success in the Indian market due to its exorbitant pricing. Toyota launched its Prius in India at the 2012 Auto Expo and has dubbed the vehicle to be 'born at the dawn of the 21st century.' The Prius has all the answers for the environment conscious world, but only a more subdued pricing could change its fortunes in the Indian market.

Hyundai, the Korean automotive car maker, gave the Indian market a hybrid Civic saloon, hoping to capitalise on the penchant for hybrid vehicles among the Indian car enthusiasts. However, Hyundai failed just like its contemporaries and despite its not-so sky high pricing of Prius, the car squandered in to darkness.

Earlier this year, expressing his views on the future of hybrid vehicles in India, Arvind Saxena, Director, Marketing and Sales, Hyundai Motor India Limited said, “Hybrids are too early for India. Neither is there the infrastructure to support hybrids nor is there a concrete government policy to subsidise it.”

In retrospect, the future of hybrid vehicles looks distant and meek. However the upcoming product from the stables of MREVPL, the NXR has been deemed to be a game changing product in the domestic market. Only time will tell how the upcoming car fares but genuine and nature concerned Indian car enthusiasts will surely be keeping their fingers crossed with hopes of revolutionary products in the country soon.

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