At Delhi Auto Expo, automakers show off their green side

The future seems to have finally caught up with the Indian auto industry which is increasingly engaging with new, environment friendly driving solutions, if trends at the ongoing Delhi Auto Expo are anything to go by.
From two wheelers to passenger and commercial vehicles, automakers seem keen to exploit both electric and hybrid technologies. It also helps that a new government incentive in April 2015, named Faster Adoption of Manufacturing of (Hybrid and) Electric Vehicles in India (FAME), offers cash incentives to buyers and manufacturers of such products.
The buzz around electric vehicle started almost a week before the Auto Expo kicked off with two major companies, Kinetic and Hero Electric, launching electric vehicles. While Hero Electric launched scooters and a light dumper, Kinetic introduced an indigenously designed, battery operated three-wheeler e-Auto named ‘Kinetic Safar’. Pune-based Kinetic has already won an order worth Rs 400 crore to supply 27,000 e-Autos to the Uttar Pradesh government over the next 12 months.
Hero MotoCorp is focusing on its green initiative at its stall and has showcased an electric scooter design concept Duet-E. Mahindra and Mahindra, better known for its diesel-run SUVs, unveiled the GenZe 2.0, an all-electric scooter. In the passenger carrier light commercial vehicle space, M&M is showcasing the Supro, an 8-seater, zero-emission minivan powered by lithium ion batteries. The Bombay-based automaker also unveiled its electric sports performance car, e2o Sport, and electric Verito sedan. The company is pitching these products as zero emission vehicles that will help reduce users’ carbon footprint.
“The electric vehicles on display today reflect Mahindra’s vision of the Future of Mobility which we believe would lead to the creation of more sustainable urban areas in the future”, said Anand Mahindra, chairman, Mahindra Group.
Hero is going a step further – in adding to green vehicles, India’s largest two-wheeler maker is also looking to set up as many as 100 charging stations in New Delhi.
“We are committed to our vision to provide green mobility to the country and look forward to consistent innovation towards developing remarkable products for the Indian EV market”, said Naveen Munjal, managing director, Hero Eco Group.
Among global automakers, Volkswagen, which has been at the centre of an emissions cheating scandal that has severely eroded its market cap and could cost it billions in reparations, unveiled its hybrid Passat. Japanese auto major Honda also showcased a hybrid version of its Accord sedan. Its sister company in the two-wheeler segment, Honda Motorcycle & Scooter, flaunted its EV Cub concept, positioning it as the next-gen motorised personal commuter for short distances. Korean auto major Hyundai is also displaying its Sonata plug-in hybrid sedan. However, a company official clarified that there was no immediate plan to bring the hybrid sedan to India even though it was doing well in the overseas markets.
Toyota, which has been selling its hybrid sedan Camry in India for the past few years, introduced a brand new version of its global segment-leading Prius hybrid for the Indian market., besides displaying its range of hybrid and fuel cell vehicles, including the Mirai hydrogen car.
Commercial vehicle makers, often painted as the villains of the piece in the emissions debate in India, are also catching up with the green wave in the auto industry. Heavy vehicle manufacturers like Tata Motors and Ashok Leyland displayed concepts for low- and no-emission products. Tata Motors is showcasing concepts of hybrid and electric buses while Ashok Leyland previewed the Hybus, claiming it is the country’s first non-plug in hybrid bus. Component maker JBM, which has forayed into bus manufacturing, also unveiled an electric bus.