The Japanese carmaker’s hybrid-first strategy is different from Maruti-Hyundai’s, both of which will introduce an electric vehicle in the market first
After the false alarm given by the Indian government to restrict the sale of IC-powered vehicles in the country by 2030, various carmakers like Maruti, Mahindra, Tata, Toyota and Hyundai took some serious steps towards launching an electric vehicle in the country.
Where Suzuki (Maruti Suzuki’s parent company) announced its plans to set up a lithium-ion battery plant, Toyota in collaboration with Maruti announced its intention to bring an affordable EV in the country by 2020. Hyundai went one step further and confirmed that it will launch its first locally assembled EV, the Kona Electric, in India in 2019.
Now, India’s fifth-largest carmaker, Honda, has announced its plans to foray into the affordable electrified car market in India. The Japanese carmaker has committed Rs 9,200 crore investment for the Indian market which will be spent over the next decade. This investment will result in a third manufacturing facility for the carmaker after one each in Greater Noida, Uttar Pradesh, and Tapukara, Rajasthan, and the introduction of cleaner technologies in the country.
The CEO also talked about launching the first electrified vehicle in the country by 2021 while suggesting that it could be a mass-market hybrid. He reportedly said, “All I can say is that our electrified journey in India will begin within the next three years and this may surely include a mass-market hybrid.”
While it is good news that we might see a mass-market hybrid from Honda sooner than expected, it is still unclear which model would it be. It could be the next-gen City, which will share its platform with the next-gen Jazz that was spied testing overseas recently. Both the current-gen Jazz and City are available with a hybrid powertrain in the Japanese market.
The possibility of it being the Honda Clarity plug-in hybrid looks very slim as it is even more expensive than the Accord Hybrid in the US market. The pre-facelift Accord Hybrid on sale in India is priced at Rs 43.21 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi), which is quite far from being called a mass-market hybrid.
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