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Developing EV infrastructure in India will take time: Honda

While the company will continue investment in its EV program for India, it will wait for the infrastructure to be developed in the country before marketing its electric two-wheelers, Noriaki Abe, managing officer at Honda Motor Company told ET. Ho...

, ET Bureau|
Nov 14, 2019, 02.39 PM IST
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This come barely a month after Bajaj Auto showcased its Chetak electric scooter which the company plans to start selling as soon as early next year.
Mumbai: Resolution of challenges related to range and cost of electric vehicles, the establishment of supporting infrastructure like charging and battery swapping stations and the subsequent adoption of the technology by the populace in India will take time, said Japanese auto major Honda.

While the company will continue investment in its EV program for India, it will wait for the infrastructure to be developed in the country before marketing its electric two-wheelers, Noriaki Abe, managing officer at Honda Motor Company told ET along the sidelines of EICMA 2019 in Milan. Honda has conducted a feasibility study for electric scooters in its global portfolio for the Indian market, sources had confirmed to ET earlier.

As a technology, EVs have existed for more than 15 years, Abe argued, but it is difficult to make them popular among the people in the absence of a supporting ecosystem.

“We have to talk with government how they are preparing the infrastructure for the right electric vehicle. Even in Japan, we are still talking with government,” he said. “We need infrastructure. If not, (then) people don't want to buy (EVs).”

Abe’s comments come barely a month after Bajaj Auto showcased its Chetak electric scooter which the company plans to start selling as soon as early next year. Chennai-based TVS Motor Company plans to launch EVs by the end of this fiscal, ET had reported earlier. Hero MotoCorp too has set the ball rolling for its EV strategy with its investment in Bengaluru-based electric two-wheeler maker Ather Energy.

The Japanese company’s local two-wheeler unit, Honda Motorcycle and Scooter India, is the second-largest maker of two-wheelers in the domestic market. During the ongoing fiscal, its sales have been impacted to the tune of 18% due to the falling demand in the country.

The company has revised its sales target for FY20 to 6 million units, a target which it had set for itself in FY18 too. “Just a small revision for this year because India's economy (is) in slow down,” Abe said. It may take up to three years for demand to recover, he further said.

The company produced 5.9 million units across its four plants in India in FY19, of which 5.5 million were sold in the domestic market while the rest was exported.

(The correspondent was in Milan at the invitation of Honda Motorcycle and Scooter India)

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