‘Little late but will bring more EVs to the market’: Tarun Garg | Autocar Professional

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Hyundai Motor India, which presently sells its all-electric Kona and Ioniq 5 crossovers in the Indian market, foresees the country’s passenger vehicle (PV) segment to register up to 22 percent EV penetration by the turn of the decade. As a result, the company is channelising its efforts to introduce more EV offerings in the market, which is increasingly seeing OEMs launch new products that are fast gaining consumer acceptance.

Amid rising preference for hybrid vehicles, Tarun Garg, Chief Operating Officer of Hyundai Motor India – the country’s second largest car maker says, “EV is the ultimate destination” and “going all out on BEV is the direction,” the Korean carmaker has chosen. While the market for EVs has grown faster than expected, the company intends to have a portfolio of localised offerings, tailored for the Indian market.

“At 5 percent GST, the case is much stronger for EVs than hybrids in India, and that is why we are focusing on EVs, and have invested in the localisation of battery packs, and other EV components. This will allow us to introduce more all-electric products in the future.”

“We are trying to see how we can introduce more EVs to India as we feel we have been late, and have a lot of catching up to do. We want to come in the high-volume EV segment. We anticipate around 20-22 percent penetration of EVs in the PV market by 2030, he added.

He also expects EVs to contribute a similar number to Hyundai Motor India’s sales by the end of the decade “and for that we need to have more models,” Garg told Autocar Professional, while being non-committal about the number of EV models the company will be introducing in the Indian market in the future.

However, in its official release last year, after the visit of the Hyundai Group chairman in Tamil Nadu in August 2023, Hyundai Motor India had guided for five new model introductions till 2032. The carmaker has also committed over Rs 26,180 crore in the state of Tamil Nadu in the coming decade, and a predominant part of this investment will go towards electric vehicle portfolio diversification, and in exploring the emerging area of hydrogen-powered vehicles.

“We also see a significant potential in hydrogen, and as an OEM, we want to be part of India’s development. That would be a significant contribution as a homegrown automaker to the overall development of a sustainable economy, and that is how the investment has been announced, and that is why we are willing to continue the pilots of our Nexo FCEV in India,” he said.

Adopting dual-platform EV approach

Garg mentioned that the company is evaluating both ICE-derived, as well as ground-up EVs for the Indian market, as the size of the country offers it the potential for introducing both types of EVs. “India is such a big market that both will work, and going forward, there will be the introduction of both types of EVs from Hyundai in India. Both ICE-derived as well as ground-up EVs have their own merits, and even with an ICE-derived EV there is benefit of economies of scale for the common parts,” he said.

“Looking at India, there are opportunities for both technologies, as long as one can introduce it at a price point which is a sweet spot for the customer, and offer in body styles that are being demanded by the customer. Beyond that, customers do not care whether it is a ground-up or an ICE-derived EV,” Garg explained.

Tata Motors, India’s largest EV player, with over 75 percent share of the passenger EV segment, too has relied on internal-combustion-engine (ICE)-converted EVs such as the Tiago and Nexon EV, for a quick entry into the market. While Hyundai Motor India is non-committal on the specific EV product introduction, Autocar Professional learns the Creta-based EV will be ready by the end of 2024, with a market launch likely in Q1 of 2025.

While the Hyundai Creta-based EV will be an ICE-converted EV, there are various other models based on ground-up EV architectures, presently under development at the carmaker, as per sources. Hyundai Motor India will be investing in a local battery-assembly plant at its base in Sriperumbudur, Tamil Nadu, and it is also looking at localising more components to ensure that the company is able to offer a competitive EV once it is launched in the marketplace.

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