Here is a complete look at what else made headlines in the auto space during the week
The UK government has announced a ban on the sale of all vehicles which are not fully electric or hybrid after 2030. Though India’s ambition to transition towards fully electric means of mobility was also on similar lines, the plans never took off. More on this later in the copy, but first here is a complete look at what else made headlines in the auto space during the week.
Bharat Forge to make hovercraft
After artillery guns and combat vehicles, forging giant Bharat Forge is looking to build hovercrafts, thus slated to become the first company to manufacture them in India.
This is also the first time that the Pune-based company is venturing into water-based solutions, having already entered into land and air-based solutions for defence and civilian purposes.
Renault Kiger unveiled
Designed by French and Indian designers, the Kiger is the first compact SUV from Renault. Set to debut in the final quarter of this year is the fourth sports utility vehicle by Renault in India after Duster, Koleos, and Captur.
Prices of the SUV and details of the variants will be revealed at the time of the commercial launch which is expected to be in the January-March period. The vehicle is expected to be priced in the range of Rs 6.5-9 lakh.
Volvo Group to upgrade buses
Swedish bus and truck major Volvo Group is working with India’s transport authorities to suggest improvements in surface transport systems to reduce road fatalities. The exercise also involves upgrading its own vehicle range.
Over 151,000 people lost their lives to road accidents in India in 2019, more than in any other country. According to the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways there were nearly 450,000 accidents in the country in 2019. A little over 70 percent of these accidents were caused by overspeeding.
Hyundai faces lawsuit
Hyundai Motor Co is being sued over a string of battery fires in its electric vehicles (EVs), just as General Motors Co recalls nearly 70,000 EVs with batteries from the same maker, LG Chem Ltd.
The owner of a Hyundai Kona EV, a South Korean civil servant who asked to be identified only by his surname Kim, is among some 200 people who lodged a class-action lawsuit against Hyundai last week, seeking compensation for what they say is the reduced value of their EVs and other losses, Kim and two lawyers representing them told Reuters.
UK bans sale of non-EVs after 2030, where does India stand
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced on November 18 that Britain would ban petrol and diesel vehicle sales from 2030, a decade earlier than its previous commitment, as a part of a 10-point plan for a "green industrial revolution".
The UK being one of the few developed automotive markets, the decision to end sales of fossil fuel-based vehicles did make the world sit up and take notice. Germany, France, Norway, and The Netherlands have already announced similar deadlines.
To cut down on oil imports and make the country a hub for electric vehicles, the Indian government had also proposed a similar ban two years ago. Think tank Niti Aayog had proposed that only fully electric vehicles be allowed to be sold after 2030.
It had also proposed that all two-wheelers with engines less than 150cc should be purely electric. But after a strong show of resentment and opposition from the stakeholders such as vehicle makers, auto parts makers and auto dealers the government softened its stand before scrapping such proposals.
Since then the Centre has initiated multiple steps in promoting adoption of electric vehicles.
Slashing GST on EVs, bringing down tax on lithium-ion batteries, allowing registration of electric two- and three-wheelers without their batteries, setting up charging stations, providing monetary incentives to EV buyers and income tax deduction on interest paid on loans taken to buy electric vehicles, were some of the key measures taken by the government. There is also proposal to levy a different rate on electricity consumed for charging electric vehicles.
Several state governments have their own methods of promoting adoption of EVs. Some states like Maharashtra and Karnataka have waived road and registration tax on electric vehicles.
While penetration of EVs remains abysmal in India with less than one percent vehicles being fully electric, new launches have generated the interest among buyers. As launches have happened across sectors - two-wheelers, three-wheelers, cargo four-wheelers, SUVs, sedans, luxury cars and buses – sales of EVs have steadily risen.Last year, sales of EVs (excluding three-wheelers) grew 20 percent to 1.56 lakh compared to 1.30 lakh sold in 2018-19. As the electric three-wheeler segment is high unorganised actual sales numbers were difficult to procure. But as per the society of Manufacturers of Electric Vehicles (SMEV) around 90,000 electric three-wheelers were sold last year.