If all goes well, the fuel pumps nearest to you could be dispensing a new kind of fuel which is also the cleanest in the world. The government this week notified the safety standards for hydrogen fuel cell-based vehicles, paving the way for the introduction of vehicles powered by hydrogen in the near future. More on this later in the copy but here is a look at what else made headlines during the week.
Harley-Davidson exits India
Harley-Davidson will shut down manufacturing and sales operations in India as part of its restructuring exercise under the 'Rewire’ programme, the US-based motorcycle maker said in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission on September 24.
In August, the Milwaukee-based cruiser bike maker had indicated exiting some of the loss-making international markets to reroute focus on the US market.
Harley India’s closure could render 2,000 jobless
Automobile dealer body FADA on Friday said the closure of Harley Davidson's operations in India would lead to job loss for up to 2,000 workers across the brand's 35 dealerships.
Harley Davidson on September 24 said it is discontinuing sales and manufacturing operations in the country. The India action will include an associated workforce reduction of around 70 employees, it had said in a SEC filing
India to incentivise battery manufacturing
India plans to offer $4.6 billion in incentives to companies setting up advanced battery manufacturing facilities as it seeks to promote the use of electric vehicles and cut down its dependence on oil, according to a government proposal seen by Reuters.
A proposal drafted by NITI Aayog, a federal think tank chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, said India could slash its oil import bills by as much as $40 billion by 2030 if electric vehicles were widely adopted.
MG Motor unveils Gloster
MG Motor India on Thursday unveiled its premium SUV Gloster equipped with the first level of autonomous driving feature.
The company also opened pre-bookings for the vehicle, which will be launched in the market in October when its full prices will also be announced.
Mercedes launches AMG GLE 53 Coupe
Mercedes-AMG has just launched the GLE 53 Coupe in India. Replacing the 43-series coupe, the new car is priced at Rs 1.20 crore.
As a replacement, the new GLE gets quite a few changes over the outgoing car. This is also the first 53 badged vehicle to come to India.
Toyota launches Urban Cruiser
Toyota Kirloskar Urban Cruiser SUV has been launched with prices starting at Rs 8.4 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi). This is the second product it has borrowed from Suzuki to sell under its own brand.
The Urban Cruiser is based on Maruti Suzuki Brezza and follows the Glanza, a Baleno facelift that Maruti Suzuki started delivering to Toyota in April 2019.
India moves one step closer to Hydrogen cars
On September 24 the government notified standards for safety evaluation of hydrogen fuel cell-based vehicles paving the way for attracting the clean emission technology to India. The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways issued a notification in this regard.
“This would facilitate the promotion of hydrogen fuel cell-based vehicles in the country which are futuristic, energy efficient and environment friendly, while being compliant to international standard”, Union Minister Nitin Gadkari tweeted.
The automotive industry standards committee submitted its final draft on regulations for introduction of fuel-cell vehicles in June. The draft outlines the safety and procedural requirement.
Similar guidelines were issued for electric vehicles earlier. Hydrogen powering vehicles will be the newest kind of fuel for the Indian market. So far India has had petrol, diesel, CNG and LPG and direct fuel and electricity as indirect fuel.
India currently has no company selling hydrogen-powered vehicles. Want of the fuel is the simple reason. But
Fuel-cell cars are considered the cleanest in the world as the only by-product is water.
In 2018, the government slashed the goods and services tax (GST) on hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles by more than half -- to 12 percent as compared 28 percent on petrol, diesel and CNG vehicles. Hydrogen-powered vehicles have higher drive range, besides a 50 percent reduction in fuel consumption compared to conventional fuels.
Korean brand and the country’s second-largest car company Hyundai plans to launch Nexo, a sports utility vehicle (SUV), powered by hydrogen, in India, next year. The SUV is already on sale in Korea for 63,900,000 Korean Won (Rs 43.4 lakh), which puts it on par with some of the luxury models from Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Audi.
Hydrogen can be a practical option for long-distance vehicles, thanks to its lesser weight and high energy. The Hyundai Nexo, for instance, could have a drive range of 1,000km, which is twice compared to a diesel car of the same category. The refuelling time for hydrogen is also lesser, compared to electric vehicles.
Diesel vehicles are fast falling out of favour with buyers and its share in the passenger vehicle segment fell below 15 percent in the last financial year. The fuel, however, is still very popular in the medium and heavy truck and bus segment where the only alternative is liquefied natural gas (LNG).
Countries like the US, Germany, Japan, South Korea and China are already running hydrogen-fuelled cars and buses.