Many industry leaders believe that at a time, when automakers and suppliers who are heavily invested into internal combustion engine technology are looking out to sell products on the same manes of mobility, rather divert to the electric vehicles segment due to the economic downturn.
NEW DELHI: The novel coronavirus has certainly put a few debates to end and certainly the advancements in the electric vehicles is one of them. Many industry leaders believe that at a time, when automakers and suppliers who are heavily invested into internal combustion engine technology are looking out to sell products on the same manes of mobility, rather divert to the electric vehicles segment due to the economic downturn.
Automobile OEMs have invested around Rs 40,000 crore to upgrade their facilities and products, while the auto component industry has put in another Rs 30,000 crore to upgrade to the sophisticated BS-VI technology.
Uno Minda, Chairman, NK Minda in ETAuto roundtable said, “Electric cars for me are going to take a back seat for at least one year and we are going to revisit it probably later. While companies who have already made investments might continue with their plans but we have renewed focus on the conventional technologies.”
Echoing his views, Deepak Jain, President ACMA said, “In February we all witnessed the surge of electric vehicles, but after COVID-19 hitting the Indian shores, there have been no talk about electric vehicles in the last six weeks. However, the EV trend will continue. We just need to see how it will percolate across in India we’ll have to pause and witness it.”
With over 50 days of lockdown, the automotive industry has come to a complete stand still and as the companies plan to re-open by restoring the supply chain operations, which are one of the biggest concern apart from the economic disruption that has created fissures of salary cuts and job losses.
After COVID-19 hitting the Indian shores, there have been no talk about electric vehicles in the last six weeksDeepak Jain, ACMA
In the present times, consumers are cuting discretionary expenses and at saving are being channelised to health and hygiene areas. So, consumers might not look for big-ticket purchases in the personal mobility space, but opt for affordable options. Traditional cars and two-wheelers are 30-40 percent cheaper than that of electric peers.
Another industry leader pointed out that the cost of electric cars remains a major deterrent for their surge in a cost-conscious market like India. Only affordable electric two-wheelers may find few customers going forward.
Even in commercial vehicle space, the players have invested hugely in upgrading to BS-VI emission norms. Also, public transport will be affected due to social distancing norms.
“EV could be deferred as investments from companies and similarly the government can also defer its plans. However, the electric vehicle concept is here to stay. An alternative to fossil fuels will be imperative.” said Vipin Sondhi CEO and MD, Ashok Leyland.
It is not just the traditional players who are finding electric vehicles as a challenging segment, the startups in the domains who are low on cash reserves and investments are folding up the business, according to SMEV, President, Sohinder Gill.