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    Developing EV infrastructure in India will take time: Honda

    Synopsis

    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. Honda has conducted a feasibility study for e-scooters in its global portfolio for India.

    ET Bureau
    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)

    (Catch all the Business News, Breaking News Events and Latest News Updates on The Economic Times.)

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    7 Comments on this Story

    St Mumbai317 days ago
    Unlike Honda, not all companies are
    waiting for charging infrastructure to be developed in the country. And unlike Maruti Suzuki, not all companies are waiting for favourable govt. policies. (Maruti Suzuki has temporarily shelved the launch of the WagonR EV.) The MG Motors all-electric ZS SUV will make its debut on Dec. 5, which is less than a month away. (The official launch will be at the Auto Expo 2020.)
    The pricing is expected to be in the ₹20 to ₹25 lakh range (ex-showroom) – which is around the price of the Hyundai Kona all-electric SUV. In order to take on its rival, the ZS comes loaded with features. The Hyundai Kona, launched in July this year, is the country''s first fully electric SUV.
    Based on the newer WLTP testing procedure, the ZS has a range of 262 km. Using a 50kW DC fast charger, 0-80% charge would take only 40 mins.
    MG Motors India has confirmed that buyers of the ZS EV will get access to free DC fast charging for a certain period from the purchase of the vehicle. This will be available at all MG fast-charging locations in the five cities that the ZS EV will be sold in, namely Delhi-NCR, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Bengaluru and Ahmedabad.
    MG Motors India are looking at sales of 2,000-3,000 units per annum, initially.
    St Mumbai318 days ago
    Except for Maruti Suzuki and now, also MG Motors, no manufacturer of cars in India considered ‘regenerative braking’ as a technology that would add value to their ICE vehicles. In fact Maruti Suzuki calls their cars with ‘regenerative braking’ as mild-hybrids.
    Ford estimates owners of its vehicles in the US have saved 100 million gallons of gasoline over the past 15 years, thanks to regenerative braking. Crombez, Ford''s technical expert on regenerative braking said, “We’re recapturing up to 95% of kinetic energy that would otherwise go to waste... compared with 30% to 50% for some other auto makers.” However, Ford (India), inspite of scoring low marks in the “kitna deta hai” test, didn''t consider‘ regenerative braking’ as a eco-friendly way to attain a higher score and higher sales in India. Lost opportunity, definitely.
    St Mumbai318 days ago
    Manufacturers have just assumed that with the charging infrastructure in place, the urban commuter will be happy with a ₹75K two wheeler that has a maximum range of 100 kms and top speed of 45 kmph . 😁😁😁😁😁
    The urban commuter – going to, or returning from work, WON''T be happy to wait 30-40 minutes, on a regular basis, while his/her two wheeler is charging. Don''t think it will work – at least in a city like Mumbai.
    Ditto for battery swapping stations. One could be getting a far older battery in exchange for the new one being turned in. In an EV, the battery is everything, so EV owners will undoubtedly be chary.
    The only option for an EV manufacturer is to increase range to at least 150 kms and top speed to at least 80 kmph for an urban ‘commuter’ two wheeler.
    With the need for one large battery or two medium sized ones, rather than a motorcycle, the scooter seems the ideal form factor.
    The Economic Times