MUMBAI: South Korean auto major Hyundai Motor is planning to introduce its full range of electric vehicles in India as it tries to expand its product offerings to compete with market leader Maruti Suzuki for a bigger share of the Indian roads.

Close on the heels of Maruti Suzuki announcing plans to manufacture electric vehicles by 2020, Hyundai has commissioned a study to explore manufacturing of such vehicles in India. This will be in addition to introducing the globally successful Kona SUV by importing CKD packs to India by the second half of 2019. YK Koo, MD of Hyundai Motor India, said the aim is to have a range of electric cars in India and cater to buyers in different price segments. The company is currently studying various aspects of battery manufacturing and sourcing parts from the local market “We will be adopting a topdown approach for EVs in the country.

After the assembly of Kona EV, we are exploring if we can manufacture compact SUVs and sedan electric vehicles in India,” Koo told ET. The move may not necessarily pit Hyundai directly against Maruti Suzuki, the largest car maker which is planning to come out with a series of small cars, but it will give Hyundai the chance to come out with alternatives to participate in the state-run Energy Efficient Services Ltd’s (EESL) contract in the future.

“We want to have deeper footprints in the Indian electric vehicle market and are eagerly waiting for government’s support in this direction. Kona is the starting point, and we have to select one product to start manufacturing from our Chennai plant — but it will take a little bit of time,” said Koo.

Much like most of the market, Hyundai Motor India had developed hybrid vehicles for the domestic market, but a spike in GST rate for hybrid vehicles compelled the South Korean carmaker to shelve its hybrid vehicles completely and shift to electric ones. The Kona SUV, when launched will be priced above Rs 20-25 lakh, which is a mere technology demonstrator for Hyundai in India, said Koo, adding there are other products which can be brought to India at almost half the price, provided the incentives for electric vehicles — be it in form of development of ecosystem or subsidies for the end price of the vehicles — are determined in FAME 2.

Despite no clear policy direction for electric vehicles, Maruti Suzuki has declared that its first electric vehicle will be manufactured in 2020 and the same is likely to be shared by Toyota.

On the conventional petrol and diesel vehicles, Hyundai has committed over a billion dollars in India, which will be used to churn out 8 cars in the next three years. If at all the company decides to move into mainstream manufacturing in India, it will call for fresh investments in the country.

The Indian operations have been one of the fastest growing production bases for Hyundai globally and it accounts for 15% of total global production. Hyundai Motor Corporation has globally announced plans of launching 38 green vehicles till 2025 and some of them will be suitable for the Indian market.

These include 14 pure electric vehicles, 12 plug-in hybrid vehicles, and 10 hybrid electric vehicles.





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