Korean automaker Hyundai Motors has revealed long-term plans to manufacture electric cars in one of its largest markets — India. The company initially plans to import electric cars in India, and eventually turn it into a manufacturing hub.
Y K Koo, managing director and CEO of Hyundai Motors, recently stated that his company would launch an electric sports utility vehicle (SUV) in the second half of next year. The company will initially import a ‘knocked-down’ unit of the car, and would likely assemble it at its Chennai-based plant. The car will have a limited launch, across 15 cities only.
Hyundai currently offers an electric SUV — Kona — which can be launched in India as well. Kona is around the same size the compact SUV Creta, already significantly popular in India. Hyundai claims that Kona has a driving range of up to 482 kilometers and has both fast and normal charging options, with the former charging the battery pack up to 80% in just under an hour.
Hyundai seems cautiously bullish on the Indian market where it has already sold more than 8 million vehicles in over 20 years of its operations in the country. With plans to introduce an electric car, the company is expected to take further measures to make the most of India’s long-term policy to promote electric vehicles. CEO Koo stated that his company does not plan to introduce any hybrid vehicles in India and would rather focus on pure electric vehicles. The company will offer charging accessories to customers for easy and seamless adoption of the new technology when it launches the electric SUV.
Given the Indian government’s vision to significantly push for adoption of electric vehicles in the public and private transportation sector, Hyundai has wisely chosen to name India as its third regional headquarters after North America and Europe.
While the Indian market currently has homegrown players as the dominant entities in the passenger electric car space, Hyundai and other foreign brands may still be able to lap them down with their experience and offerings.
Hyundai, however, will have to keep prices of its offerings in check until the time it starts manufacturing the electric cars in India itself. High import costs and lack of incentives for buyers could derail Hyundai’s plans to compete with the likes of Tata Motors and Mahindra Electric, which already produce electric sedans in India.
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