The Government’s ambitious plan of making India an all-electric nation has been taken seriously by almost every carmaker. Suzuki and Toyota joined hands to develop EVs together for the Indian market, while Honda is considering to develop India-specific battery EVs. The journey towards stimulating vehicles in India has begun ahead of the government’s ambitious target of electrifying the entire fleet of cars by 2030. Mahindra too is working on its EV strategy and come 2018, the KUV100 Electric will be launched in India. Renault boss recently stated that the electric version of its most selling car (in India), the Kwid, will be launched in India and other markets like Brazil and the Middle East. However, the Kwid Electric will be first launched in China.
In China, we can’t sell the Leaf. Too expensive and too sophisticated. We can’t sell the Renault Fluence. Too expensive. What sells in China? Low-cost electric cars. So we are putting engineers from the association to advance a low-cost Kwid EV for China. I just test drove the car in China. It will be a very well-engineered car at a very low cost. In what is considered as the largest order for electric cars, Energy Effectiveness Services Limited (EESL), a State-owned business has positioned an order of 10,000 EVs. Tata Motors and Mahindra have bagged the tender to provide Tigor EV and E2o Plus respectively. And once it works in China, there is no reason you are not going to distribute the car to India, to Brazil, to the Middle East. Suzuki and Toyota have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to develop and retail EVs in India. While Suzuki will manufacture and supply EVs, Toyota will provide the technical support. The first of the EVs from the joint venture is probable to hit the Indian roads by 2020.
Renault expects growth of EVs to come mainly from China and other markets like Europe, Japan and the US. There could be surprises from other emerging markets but the company isn’t counting on it and instead will focus on the China, Europe and Japan.