Why Honda will ditch strong hybrid for Elevate electric SUV in India

  • Honda Cars India introduced the Elevate compact SUV on June 6. The model will be launched in India first and then in global markets.
Honda will launch the electric version of the Elevate SUV in India by 2026.
Honda will launch the electric version of the Elevate SUV in India by 2026.

Honda Cars will not introduced its e:HEV technology, or the strong hybrid system popularised in City, anytime soon. Instead, going against its global strategy on hybridisation of vehicles, Honda will introduce Elevate EV in the next three years. The decision was taken keeping in mind the compact SUV segment which is all set to see at least two new models with electric powertrain launching in India in coming days. Late into the battle for SUV space, Honda thinks electric version of Elevate has a better chance of taking on rivals.

Honda Elevate SUV was introduced on Tuesday, June 6, for the Indian market. The compact SUV, which will rival the likes of Hyundai Creta, Maruti Suzuki Grand Vitara and Kia Seltos among others, will be first launched in India and later in global markets. A lot depends on how Elevate SUV is accepted by customers to decide Honda's future in India as it aims to grab its share in a segment that contributes more than half of all vehicle sales.

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Takuya Tsumura, President and CEO at Honda Cars India, revealed details about the launch of Elevate EV during the global unveiling of the SUV. He said, "We are planning to introduce it within three years," confirming that the Japanese auto giant is not planning a hybrid version of the Elevate SUV, despite some of its rivals such Maruti Suzuki Grand Vitara and Toyota Urban Cruiser HyRyder offering similar technology.

One of the key reasons why Honda is not planning a strong hybrid version of Elevate SUV could be the pricing factor. An electric vehicle attracts less tax compared to a hybrid vehicle in India. Currently, all electric cars sold in India attract GST of just five per cent. Hybrid vehicles, like their ICE counterparts attract 28 per cent GST besides a compensation cess of another 15 per cent.

Watch: Honda Elevate SUV unveiled in India: First Look

Another reason why Honda is planning to launch the electric avatar of Elevate first is the upcoming models in the segment with electric powertrain. Tata Motors has already confirmed the launch of the Harrier electric SUV by next year. The Harrier EV was showcased at the Auto Expo earlier this year. Besides Tata Harrier EV, Mahindra is also planning to launch four electric SUVs in coming years with at least one in the compact segment. There are reports that Hyundai Motor too is working on the electric version of its flagship SUV Creta.

Besides the Elevate, Honda also plans to launch four more SUVs in India in the next seven years. The carmaker recently underwent organisational restructuring, shutting down its second facility in Greater Noida amid lack of demand. However, it remains to be seen how Honda plans to optimise its production plans with just one operational facility located in Tapukara in Rajasthan.

First Published Date: 07 Jun 2023, 10:39 AM IST
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