The talk of the automotive town may be about electric vehicles but Maruti Suzuki is backing hybrid vehicles for now as the fulcrum on which electric mobility in India can be balanced in the times to come. Speaking at an HT Auto webinar recently, Shashank Srivastava - Executive Director for Marketing and Sales - highlighted the need to bring cost of acquisition down and put forth his expectations from the upcoming Budget 2021.
Electric mobility remains in a nascent stage in India and while there is a firm push from the government and options are steadily increasing across automotive segments, the crucial question of initial buying cost and infrastructure readiness linger on. "Penetration of EVs across the world has been two per cent, barring in a few countries. We believe alternate technology like CNG and hybrid vehicles are the way forward. We especially expect support for hybrid vehicles (in Budget 2021)," he explained, adding that while costs may come down at a time in the future, EVs remain an expensive proposition in the country. "The cost of battery technology is extremely high. This makes the cost of EV high. Infrastructure of charging and range anxiety are other areas that need to be looked into."
Srivastava also made a case for a reducing cost of acquisition that could espeically help players in the passenger vehicle segment. "Hybrid vehicles need support as a way for electrification in the future. The cost of acquisition needs to be brought down," he said. "It is not just about stimulating current demand but a long term structure is needed. Auto industry contributes 15% to 16 % to GST, 7% to 8% to GDP."
Admitting that the proposed scrappage policy could act like a shot in the arm, Srivastava further elaborated that taking old vehicles off Indian roads will not just save fuel and help bring down pollution levels but will also give an impetus to new car purchases. "I am hoping this would be a one-of-a-kind budget that brings India back to a high-growth path," he concluded while also hoping no new taxes are brought in.