Electric vehicles or cars will continue to be a very expensive proposition for car buyers and may not become a mass market phenomenon especially in India feels Jnaneswar Sen, senior vice president, marketing and sales, Honda Cars India Limited. According to him, though there is technology available in the electric vehicle segment, the price of the electric vehicles or cars should come down and become affordable for people. “A customer will not be tempted to buy an electric vehicle if he has to pay more than one and half or double the price when compared to a petrol or a diesel vehicle. When a customer can get a petrol or a diesel vehicle at much lesser price points he will not buy an electric vehicle,” said Sen.
Sen explained that it is not just the challenges of a charging infrastructure for electric vehicles but the cost of the battery for an electric vehicle that will continue to be a challenging aspect regarding the adoption of electric vehicles. “Electric vehicles are expensive to produce and there are issues related to the battery namely the charging time, the life of a battery to run these vehicles and also the weight of the battery in some cases. In India many people do not park their cars inside their houses and park them on the roads thereby making charging of electric vehicles challenging. Challenges associated with the battery for an electric vehicle need to be solved. Above all, the battery to run an electric vehicle is very expensive which increases the overall cost of the vehicle. Though electric vehicles will be good for the environment for mass adoption the cost needs to come down,” added Sen.
Interestingly, Sen informed that Honda has a R&D set up in Japan which concentrates on research and innovation of electric vehicles. He also informed that Honda is planning to launch electric vehicles in China, Japan and Europe over the next two years. “We haven't reached a point where electric vehicles will become a mass phenomenon in India though the government wants all the vehicles to be electric by 2030. Technology also needs to become affordable,” added Sen.
Honda Cars India has big plans for the Indian market and plans six big launches in the country in the next three years with three launches in the next financial year 2018-19. The recently concluded Auto Expo 2018 witnessed the global unveiling of the second generation Honda Amaze and the unveiling of the fiftg generation Honda CR-V and the tenth generation Honda Civic. At the same time, the company has registered a cumulative growth of 13 per cent, selling 156,452 units during April, 2017 to February, 2018 against 1,38,363 units in the corresponding period last year. “Though we have also faced excess inventory issues in India in the past like other car manufacturers, now things have stabilized. However, a sudden change in tax structures and change in policies in India do take us back to the drawing board,” remarked Sen.