Maruti Suzuki and Nissan Prepare to Enter India’s EV Market


Maruti Suzuki and Nissan, two carmakers that many Indians are familiar with are making separate plans to enter the electric vehicle (EV) market in India.

According to Press Trust of India (PTI), Nissan, a Japanese automobile manufacturer, has started testing its e-Power technology-equipped vehicles in India as part of its strategy to enhance electric mobility in Asia.

“We are conducting some tests in India for the e-Power technology equipped vehicle, India and Indonesia are two big countries where we are doing the tests while some are also being done in Thailand,” said Daniele Schillaci, Nissan Motor’s co-executive vice president of Global Sales and Marketing.

“I think electric mobility will come from mid-sized vehicles in the Indian market and not from the high-end vehicles. The future line-up of both Nissan and Datsun’s brands of vehicles in India will be in that direction,” according to Schillaci.

According to a Reuters report, Maruti Suzuki is also pursuing plans to build electric cars as it seeks to capitalize on the Indian government’s goal of electrifying all new vehicles by 2030. “We will make electric cars, but I can’t give you the date just now because it is all very much a work in progress,” said Maruti Suzuki Chairman R.C. Bhargava speaking to reporters.

Maruti’s parent company, Suzuki Motor Corp., can provide its electric car technology. The Japanese company was also in talks with Toyota Motor Corp. to form an alliance that may include sharing technologies like hybrid and electric, added Bhargava.

Up until now, Mahindra was the sole EV vehicle brand in India. With the entrance of these new players, competition will heat up and so will spending on R&D. This is also expected to lead to an overall decline in the cost of EVs in India, which is likely to result in more widespread adoption.

In a recent interview, Arunabha Ghosh, chief executive of the Council on Energy, Environment, and Water (CEEW) told Mercom, “Advances in technology and economies of scale will certainly bring down battery costs but not enough to make EVs cost competitive with conventional internal combustion engine-based vehicles. To reduce manufacturing costs further, the auto industry (original equipment manufacturers, component suppliers, etc.) needs to make massive investments in production platforms for critical components in the EV value chain.”

Electric vehicles offer the next big cleantech opportunity in India. The National Electric Mobility Mission Plan (NEMMP) was launched in 2013 with an estimated investment of approximately ~$3 billion (~₹192.8 billion) to promote hybrid and EVs in India. The Government of India is currently targeting sales of 6-7 million new hybrid and electric vehicles by 2020 under the NEMMP.

The Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of (Hybrid &) Electric Vehicles (FAME) program with an initial outlay of ₹750 million (~$11.56 million) is providing a major push for early adoption and creation of a market for both hybrid and electric vehicles in the country.

For two-wheelers, the FAME incentives can vary from ₹7,500 (~$116)/unit to ₹22,000 (~$339)/unit, for three wheelers it is ₹25,000 (~$385)/unit. For four-wheelers, it ranges between ₹13,000 (~$200)/unit to ₹6.1 million (~$93,984)/unit. For buses, the incentives can vary between 60 percent of purchase cost or ₹8.5 million (~$130,960.69)/unit and 60 percent of the purchase cost or ₹10 million (~$154,071)/unit.

In June of this year, the Indian government announced a goal of selling only electric cars by 2030 and ending the sale of all diesel and petrol fueled cars.