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2016 likely to see new EV launches

January 4, 2016:The electric vehicles sector is expected to see a lot more action in the New Year, with auto manufacturers planning to launch a series of new vehicles. Growing curbs on diesel vehicles is expected to see an increase in demand for hybrid and electric vehicles.

The Society of Manufacturers of Electric Vehicles (SMEV), an industry lobby, estimates that electric vehicles (EVs) account for less than one per cent of the total vehicle sales in India. However, it has the potential to grow to five per cent in a few years.

At present, there are more than 400,000 electric two-wheelers, and a few thousand electric cars on Indian roads, says SMEV. Serious players include Mahindra Reva, Hero Eco, Electrotherm, Avon, Lohia and Ampere.

A majority of EVs in India are low-speed electric scooters, which can attain a maximum speed of 25 kmph. These two-wheelers do not need registration or licences. Unfortunately, battery failures and low-life of batteries are discouraging consumers from buying the vehicles. Most of the two-wheelers run on lead batteries as the manufacturers want to keep the prices low.

According to Sohinder Gill, director, corporate affairs, SMEV and CEO, Hero Electric, scooters with speeds of up to 75 kmph and longer battery life are likely to be launched this year. 

The only EV to run on lithium batteries is Mahindra Rewa’s E20. Companies like Mahindra Reva and Hero have also taken initiatives to set up charging stations.