India lacks ecosystem for electric cars: Volkswagen

Our Bureau Ahmedabad | Updated on October 08, 2018 Published on October 08, 2018

File photo of Director of Volkswagen Passenger Cars (India), Steffen Knapp.   -  BusinessLine

“Government must give a lot of subsidies to make it viable for the company to invest in electric cars”

At a time, when automotive players in India are charting out their strategy for electric vehicles portfolio, German car maker Volkswagen is maintaining a wait-and-watch stance to get a clarity on the policy front.

Company's director for passenger cars, Steffen Knapp informed that Volkswagen Group already has the required technology for electric cars with it and is being tried out in the European market at present. But at present, there is a need of a push from government side to make electrification successful among the prospective customers.

"In India, there is a need of a political framework and a clear vision, which the current government has. But this vision is a bit loose. In order to get electrification done in India, there has to be a lot of subsidies. Because at the moment, it is not a business case for us to sell electric cars in India, same way it is not a business case for customers to buy electric cars. There is a need of a complete package," said Knapp during the celebration of 10 years of association with one of the prominent dealers Automark Motors in Ahmedabad on Monday.

Without a clear vision on the policy front, it is unviable for the auto makers to sell cars in India. Sharing the global experience of electrification, Knapp said, in Norway, which is the most electrified mobility market, "there are incentives for electric car customers such as dedicated lanes on the roads for electric cars and separate parking areas. They don't have to pay for energy, besides they get subsidies. These are some ways to help customers to go for electrification," he said adding that customers all around the world, look for value for money and India being among toughest markets.

"In India, we will have to do some kind of a complete package (to incentivise electrification)." The company, at present, is maintaining wait-and-watch stance before announcing India EV plans.

Knapp, however expressed optimism of a clarity on the policy aspects and infrastructure-related matters to come after elections.

However, globally, Volkswagen is one of the few groups having a holistic approach on electric vehicles. Sharing insights about global EV programme, Knapp said, "Our concept is massive when it comes to going from classical combustion diesel and petrol-fuelled engine to electrified cars. In the coming years, we are going to launch 70 fully-electrified models globally."

Volkswagen has already announced Rs 8,000-crore investments for product development in India with first product - compact SUV - rollout likely in 2020.

Published on October 08, 2018
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