Nitin Gadkari ‘checks out’ new Honda City Hybrid amid talks to reduce tax
Union Minister Nitin Gadkari had a chance to get up close with the new Honda City e:HEV Hybrid sedan recently when he met officials from Honda Cars India. Honda shared images of Gadkari standing next to the City Hybrid sedan, which was launched earlier this month. The meeting comes at a time when the Japanese carmaker has raised the issue of lowering taxes on hybrid electric cars, like pure electric vehicles, to further boost adoption of vehicles running on cleaner fuel. Nitin Gadkari has been advocating use of hybrid, flex-fuel vehicles in order to reduce burden of costly fuel imports and carbon emission.
Honda shared images of Gadkari standing next to the City Hybrid along with officials from the brand on its social media handles saying, “It was a proud moment for us at Honda Cars India Ltd, when Mr Nitin Gadkari, Hon'ble Minister of Road Transport and Highways, Government of India, took time out of his busy schedule to meet our officials and check out the new Honda City e:HEV."
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Kunal Behl, Vice-President (Marketing and Sales) at Honda Cars India, was recently quoted by PTI saying that lowering of taxes on hybrid electric vehicles can lead to faster adoption of electric vehicles in the country. He noted that hybrid technology is currently best suited for Indian conditions as it is not dependent on external charging infrastructure.
At present, the total tax incidence on hybrid vehicles in the country is 43 per cent inclusive of GST while battery electric vehicles attract a tax of about 5 per cent. Behl noted that there is a big gap in taxes of the two types of vehicles. "So, yes it would be a welcome step if the government could support us (by reducing tax on hybrid vehicles as well). We request the government if they could consider it," he said.
“We really respect the government's understanding that they want to bring down the emission levels...they want to reduce the consumption of fuels, so both these objectives are met by the hybrid vehicles," Behl added.
The City Hybrid sedan was launched at a starting price of ₹19.50 lakh (ex-showroom). It makes use of a two-Motor e-CVT hybrid system that is linked to a 1.5-litre Atkinson-Cycle DOHC i-VTEC petrol engine. There is also an Intelligent Power Unit (IPU) with advanced Lithium-ion Battery and an engine linked direct coupling clutch. While the hybrid sedan starts off on electric-only mode, it switches automatically to a hybrid mode as the speed builds. At high-speed cruising, it is the petrol engine alone that is at work. The Honda City e:HEV sedan offers a combined power output of 126 PS, torque of 253 Nm and yet claiming to go around 26.5 kms per litre of fuel.