Will hybrid vehicles pave way for India's electric future?
While India is taking small but steady steps to transition from fossil fuel vehicles to electric mobility, auto parts supplier Schaeffler AG believes that hybrid vehicles are a better fit towards this goal in the immediate future.
Given the shortcomings of the EV infrastructure in the country, hybrid vehicles will be a better alternative to fully electric vehicles, the company's regional head said in a Bloomberg TV interview. "Hybrid vehicles will play an equally important role because they are able to address some of the immediate infrastructure challenges around e-mobility," Dharmesh Arora, Schaeffler’s Asia Pacific CEO, said. He added that it will take some more years for electric mobility to become mainstream.
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Schaeffler's outlook is in tandem with Maruti Suzuki, which is also in support of hybrid models until charging infrastructure improves and EVs become more affordable for all kinds of buyers in the country. Notably, sales of electric vehicles in the country account for less than 1% of annual car sales, compared to almost 10% in China.
In fact, Maruti is playing a wait-and-watch game in the electric mobility market and doesn't plan to enter the EV segment in short term. The company's chairman RC Bhargava, during the annual general meeting with shareholders last month, said that Maruti will wait to bring its first electric model only when it is feasible.
While hybrid cars use an electric motor for power and for acceleration, as speed increases, the combustion motor kicks in. Whenever the driver decelerates or uses brakes, the energy is stored in the battery for use later on. The there are plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHEV) which can be plugged in to charge the battery. PHEVs give more electric powered driving range while the combustion engine can be used as needed or once the electric hybrid battery has depleted.
(with input from Bloomberg)