Companies

Toyota Kirloskar wants govt to support hybrid and electric cars

K Giriprakash Bengaluru | Updated on January 11, 2018

Shekar Viswanathan

The move will bring down the cost of batteries making them more viable

Toyota Kirloskar Motor has said that it is willing to launch hybrid models across the segments, if the Centre’s policy does not discriminate between hybrid and electric vehicles.

“We are saying that you don’t even have to offer incentives but one should not discriminate against hybrid. The strong hybrids we make run on electric. It behaves exactly like electric cars but it also runs on fuel,” Toyota Kirloskar Motor Vice-Chairman Shekar Viswanathan told BusinessLine.

“Whenever we have engaged with the government on promoting hybrid cars, there is a fear that we want to do it at the expense of the electric. Encouraging hybrid will lead to creating an ecosystem for electric cars,” he pointed out. He further pointed out that promotion of hybrid will, in fact, promote electric cars, and at the same time, bring down the cost of batteries.

“If the government encourages both hybrid and electric, the cost of the battery is going to drop. It will make hybrid more viable and electric vehicles much more viable. We are not against electric vehicles. The government must realise that hybrids are part of the electric ecosystem.”

Proper infrastructure

Viswanathan said the government must also ensure that there is a proper infrastructure in place before giving a major push for electric vehicles.

“The government has to be applauded for encouraging electric cars on the back of improved power situation across the country and thinking long term, but at the same time, should build infrastructure over a period of time.”

He, however, cautioned that in its hurry to push electric cars, internal combustion engines cannot be wished away nor can a timeline be set to do so. It could result in heavy job losses, he said. Hence, it is important to allow the customers several options right from electric vehicles to petrol, diesel, and hybrid. Several engine manufacturers have built capacity to last for another two decades, and hence, any tinkering with the ecosystem could result in a major loss for the car makers. “The automobile industry is heavily taxed anyway. Nearly 60 per cent of the total cost of a car goes towards taxes, and therefore, it is important for the government to be extremely cautious when it comes to implementing any policy,” Viswanathan said.



Daihatsu launch

Japanese small car maker Daihatsu is unlikely to launch its models in India until 2020, when BS-VI fuel will be available across the country.

“If you introduce a model much earlier with a BS-IV engine, then you know that you will have to come up with another engine to conform to the BS-VI norms,” Viswanathan said.

Published on May 24, 2017

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