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Last Updated : Jul 13, 2019 10:15 AM IST | Source: Skymetweather.com

This week in Auto: Electric vehicle push puts jobs on the lines; TVS launches India's first ethanol bike

Here’s a look at all the important developments in the auto sector in the past week

Swaraj Baggonkar @swarajsb
Representative image: Pixabay
Representative image: Pixabay
 
 
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The switch to electric vehicles will be a watershed moment in India’s automobile history. While the government’s intention is to cut down on the fuel import bill and provide clean air, there are thousands of jobs at risk that warrants a debate. We take a look at the seriousness of this impact in today’s wrap. But, here’s a look at all the important developments in the auto sector in the past week.

Final Beetle rolls off production line

German auto giant Volkswagen launched the final edition of its iconic "Beetle" car from its Mexican factory in Puebla. The bug-shaped metallic blue sedan rolled off the production line in central Mexico to rapturous applause. It is the last of a model first manufactured in the late 1930s.

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The last 65 models of the "Beetle Final Edition" will be sold in Mexico on the internet for a base price of $21,000 and can be reserved with a $1,000 payment.

New Suzuki Gixxer launched at Rs 1 lakh

It hasn't been long since Suzuki launched the Gixxer SF 250 and 150 bikes. Although bike enthusiasts are waiting for the naked version of 250, the company has launched the face-lifted Gixxer 150.

The new Gixxer gets quite a few changes from the older generation. The new bike looks sharper now with the wings running more smoothly from the tank. Most of the mechanicals too come down straight from the Gixxer SF. It features the new tank, split seats and alloy wheels that is seen on its fully faired sibling.

TVS launches ethanol-powered Apache 200

The TVS Motor Company launched the ethanol-powered version of the Apache bike at Rs 1.2 lakh in Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh and Karnataka.

The 200-cc bike can generate 10 percent more power and 5-7 percent more torque than its petrol-powered counterpart and claims a top speed of 129 kmph. There is also a reduction in nitrogen oxide, particulate matter, carbon monoxide and sulphur dioxide, the company stated.

Auto sales declined for eight straight month

Domestic passenger vehicle (PV) sales declined by 17.54 per cent to 2,25,732 units in June from 2,73,748 units in the year-ago period.

Domestic car sales were down 24.97 per cent to 1,39,628 units as against 1,83,885 units in June 2018, according to data released by the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) on July 10.

Hero and Audi make managerial changes

Hero Motocorp, the world's largest two-wheeler manufacturer has assigned the role of the chief technology officer to Vikram Kasbekar while Rajat Bhargava will head the newly-created "Emerging Mobility" business unit. Bhargava currently heads corporate strategy & performance transformation and also heads the global business

Balbir Singh Dhilon has replaced Rahil Ansari to become Audi India's new head. Dhilon currently heads dealer development and will be taking up his new position from September 1. Ansari will take up a position at Audi's headquarters in Ingolstadt. Ansari will take the role of Senior Director, Central Sales Controlling (Global).

Hyundai launches Kona at Rs 25 lakh

Korean automobile manufacturer Hyundai has launched its first all-electric offering in India , the Kona. The hatchback claimed the title of India’s first long-range EV and is reported to give a range of 452 km on a single charge.

The EV features a cascading front grille with an intricate pattern, flanked by split headlights on either side. The headlights have LED DRLs on the top while a split tail lamp setup is fitted on the rear. It gets 17-inch, 5-spoke alloys and a continuous crease from the front door to the boot lid.

Maserati to launch Trofeo in India

Maserati's first-ever SUV, the Levante, has been on sale in India for a while now. But, this time, the company is bringing in their fastest SUV, the Levante Trofeo.

Scheduled for a launch by 2019-end, the Levante Trofeo brags of a 3.8-litre V8 twin-turbo petrol engine. This, Maserati says, is one of the most powerful engines fitted in their cars and is capable of punching out 590 horses at 6,250 rpm and 730 Nm of torque between 2,250 and 5,000 rpm. This also gives the SUV the ability to go from standstill to 100 km/h in 3.9 seconds with a top speed of over 300 km/h.

Electric vehicle may wipe out thousands of jobs

Factories that employ people to make engine and transmissions (powertrain) will be at the greatest risk when vehicle making companies progressively switch to electric vehicles that does not require any such components.

Rough estimates of affected people (directly and indirectly) put the number at 1-1.5 million, which includes not just workers employed in assembling the powertrain together but those who are employed in the auto parts industry and at the service industry employed with dealerships as well.

Other critical areas of the vehicle such as after-treatment systems, fuel recirculation system, exhaust and fuel tank will be rendered useless. Engineers employed in research and development (R&D) segments related to the engine, will be hit. Fuel stations will also be impacted as EV owners will have the freedom to charge their vehicles at home or at offices.

But, the biggest impact will be felt in the unorganized sector. Scores of roadside unauthorized garages and third party service providing companies will be hit. Without proper training, they won’t be able to handle service request of electric vehicles, which are more complex than internal combustion engines.

Even spurious parts making outfits and those who are illegally manufacturing auto components especially for engines and transmission will have to shut down.

Electric vehicles, which are gearless, need batteries for power that are fixed in nature unlike the moving powertrain set up in a fossil-fuel powered car. The higher the moving parts, the greater the frequency of a service requirement in any machine is.

As per industry experts, an electric vehicle will result in 35 percent reduction in costs compared to an internal combustion engine-powered vehicle.

The transition to electric vehicles forced by the government is set to be first seen on the large segment of two and three wheelers. A few weeks ago, the government invited vehicle-makers to get their views on its decision.

The government intends to halt sales of fossil-fuel powered two-wheelers, having engines less than 150cc after 2025 and all three-wheelers by 2023. These will have to migrate to battery-powered technology. Such mandatory switch to electric power will progressively be extended to passenger cars and other segments over the next few years.

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First Published on Jul 13, 2019 10:15 am
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