Japanese companies’ bets pay off as hybrid cars turn hot sellers – Economic Times

September 5, 2022 by No Comments

Japanese carmakers banking on powerful hybrids as the ‘critical’ bridge toward full electrification in the Indian market are seeing their bets pay off, with the strong hybrid versions of Grand , Toyota Hyryder and Honda City witnessing robust bookings.

Cumulative bookings for the three vehicles – two of which are yet to be officially launched in the local market – have crossed 40,000 units in the past couple of months. This is more than double of about 18,000 electric vehicles (4W) sold in the whole of the last financial year.

Of the 50,000-odd bookings, Maruti Suzuki has received for the Grand Vitara so far, 44% has come in for the strong hybrid version. Industry sources indicated about 75% of the bookings of Toyota Hyryder has come in for the strong hybrid version. Honda Cars India has sold out the strong hybrid version of flagship sedan City for the next 10 months.

These hybrids may come at a premium of 20-30% over conventional petrol cars, but deliver 35-40% higher fuel efficiency, and address range anxiety of vehicle buyers in a country where a widespread charging network is yet to come up, resulting in better-than-expected customer acceptance across all three companies.

“In addition to being more affordable when compared with battery electric vehicles, strong hybrids do not require charging infrastructure. They run largely on batteries in urban cycles, reducing fuel consumption and tailpipe emissions”, said Shahsank Srivastava, senior executive director (marketing and sales), Maruti Suzuki.

Electric vehicles currently command a premium of 60-70% over their corresponding gasoline versions. Besides, studies undertaken by carmakers have shown due to inadequate availability of parking space, 85% of car owners in the country do not park their vehicles at the same spot every day, making installations of charging set-ups in residential areas rather difficult.

Industry experts believe the passenger vehicle segment will probably be the last to switch to EVs due to the steep cost difference, slow evolution of the EV ecosystem and need for stable power supplies.

“Basically, it is not about battery electric vehicles or strong hybrid electric vehicles, as these technologies complement each other by having an electric powertrain with common EV parts. On the choice of technology for a market, we believe and are always focused towards introducing electrified technologies which are best suited to providing maximum carbon reduction based on an evaluation of the local conditions depending on the country’s energy mix, infrastructure development and consumer acceptance”, said Vikram Gulati, executive vice-president at Toyota

Motor (TKM), adding customer response to the Hyryder has been ‘exceptional’.

Gulati informed as per independent studies on a well to wheel basis, i.e. fully considering impact of energy generation and its end use, in case of India carbon emissions for hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) are even lower than BEVs. “Hence, SHEVs will play a critical role not only in reducing fossil fuel consumption, carbon emissions and pollution but also in creating local EV parts manufacturing eco-system while simultaneously protecting the huge existing investments and jobs related to ICE parts manufacturing thus ensuring a faster and disruption free technology transition”, Gulati said.

Toyota, Suzuki and Honda have no plans of launching an electric car in India before 2025 and are currently working on localisation of hybrid vehicle parts.

Yuichi Murata, director (marketing and sales), Honda Cars India, said, “In the Indian context, when electrification of automobiles is picking up pace, we believe that strong hybrids are currently the best bet as they are practical and worry-free. They offer outstanding fuel economy and lesser emissions as compared …….

Source: https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/industry/renewables/japanese-companies-bets-pay-off-as-hybrid-cars-turn-hot-sellers/articleshow/93990071.cms


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