NEW DELHI: Maruti Suzuki, the country’s biggest carmaker, has raised serious questions over the price viability of electric vehicles (EVs) and said a small petrol car — that retails for around Rs 5 lakh at present — may cost as much as Rs 12 lakh in the clean-mobility electric version. Also, lack of charging infrastructure may make adoption of EVs difficult.
R C Bhargava, chairman of Maruti Suzuki, said while the government wants the auto industry to increasingly move towards electric mobility, there are a series of challenges that come in between for this effort, and the major one is related to affordability of vehicles.
“Just like there are cost escalation concerns when it comes to migration of diesel engines to BS6 emission norms, there are similar concerns over affordability with regards to electric vehicles,” Bhargava said on Thursday, adding, “The price of electrifying a small car could go beyond the reach of small car owners.”
A Rs 5-lakh petrol car may become Rs 9-lakh in the electric version, he said. “Would you buy it then?” Bhargava asked. Maruti Suzuki MD Kenichi Ayukawa said the electric version of a small car may cost up to Rs 12 lakh, considering the present regulatory regime and incentives that the government offers.
Goods and services tax on electric vehicles is at 12%, against 28% stipulated for small petrol cars. However, the government has not extended a subsidy meant for electric cars — under the FAME 2 incentive scheme — to private electric vehicles, giving it only for taxis.
Bhargava said assurance about charging infrastructure is critical for adoption of clean vehicles by the masses. However, he said it will be difficult to install, going by the present set-up. “A large proportion of car owners do not park vehicles at home, but outside. Where will they charge vehicles if they are electric? Where is the infrastructure?”
While Maruti is setting up a factory for lithium-ion electric batteries in Gujarat in partnership with Toyota, Bhargava said it is yet to decide whether the future of clean mobility will come from electric technology or from hydrogen- powered vehicles. “We need a proper study on this aspect, and need to understand the pros and cons of EVs and hydrogen (technologies). Just going into EVs is not right. We need to have a proper scientific study.”
Source : ET