TVS Motors is planning to launch new hybrid and electric vehicles in the near future. The hybrid vehicle will be launched by the end of 2017, while the electric vehicle is expected to be launched by February or March 2018.
TVS Motor Chairman Venu Srinivasan said that the company has been working on an electric bike for over six years now.
"Last month, we decided to slowly unwrap our electric push. The main obstacle for the electric vehicle has been the life of the led acid battery. As lithium prices are becoming more and more economically feasible, I think that is the only option we would like to consider," he said.
The cost of lithium batteries is quite high. However, it is quick to charge and the battery life is as long as the life of the vehicle. Furthermore, the company is planning to come out with a hybrid vehicle, which will run on both petrol and an electric battery, by December 2017.
TVS Motor would be using its own battery management system while buying individual cells from international suppliers. The work on the battery, which includes connecting and making the battery management system, will be done internally. The company's software capabilities can help to achieve better efficiency in this. The company is also investing significantly in motor design and if the volumes justify it, will invest in motor manufacturing as well, Srinivasan said. The company will also look at exporting electric vehicles.
Srinivasan said that by 2020, around 20 per cent of the vehicles in the country would be electric. This change would be led by the urban market, considering that charging the mechanism in the rural market would take more time. The number of hybrid vehicles will be much higher by 2020. "For us also, it can contribute at the same percentage," said Srinivasan.
Commenting on the cost of the products, Srinivasan said that right now, the cost is a challenge. However, he added, the trend is that in all new technologies, the cost falls. According to Srinivasan, Lithium is still a challenge because of its availability. However, people are working on batteries that are even cheaper than the lithium ones. Technology is changing very rapidly.
"You will have to commit investments in multiple technologies. You cannot say only Hydrogen or only ethanol will come. It will be a combination of ethanol, hybrids, full electric, etc. Globally, it is evolving rapidly and we are working, both in India and abroad, with multiple agencies on these technologies," he said.
The company is partnering with institutions to develop the technology. Globally, there is a supply chain and once the volume increases, there will be a large percentage of indigenous supply.
Commenting on the BMW-TVS partnership, Srinivasan said that in the second half, TVS will launch a 310cc vehicle based on the BMW platform.
He said that the company has already started manufacturing and exporting for BMW's global market.
The company has a strategic partnership with BMW Motorrad to develop and manufacture sub-500cc bikes for domestic and global markets.
The BMW G310R is the first motorcycle manufactured and exported under the partnership.