Maruti Suzuki Won't Have An EV Under Rs 10 Lakh Initially, Says RC Bhargava
Customers will be reluctant to buy EVs due to the practical problem of charging the car on a regular basis, says RC Bhargava.
Maruti Suzuki India Ltd. will not have an electric passenger vehicle priced under Rs 10 lakh in its portfolio in the initial phase, as the country's largest carmaker doesn't see it becoming a large market.
"In the initial phase, there will be no sub-Rs 10 lakh EV," Chairperson RC Bhargava told BQ Prime in an interview. "I don’t think a sub-Rs 10 lakh EV is going to have a really large market for the reason that the people who’ll buy that have other options."
Bhargava said the customers in the segment would be reluctant to buy EVs because there was the practical problem of charging the car on a regular basis.
"A lot of people in the sub-Rs 10 lakh market don't have a condition which is today appearing necessary for an EV purchase—which is to have your own dedicated parking place where you can put a charging device," he said.
The company's first EV based on the concept car eVX will be launched in 2025 in the midsized SUV segment. The company plans to launch as many as six EVs by FY31.
Chairperson RC Bhargava (Source: Maruti Suzuki website)
Currently, Tata Motors Ltd.'s Tiago EV and MG Motor India Pvt.'s Comet EV are the only popular models in the segment.
While the EVs may face a challenge in attracting customers, the overall market for cars priced under Rs 10 lakh has also contracted over the last few years.
In FY19, more than 85% of the cars sold in India were priced below Rs 10 lakh. That dropped to 60% in the last financial year and 56% as of June, as Indians started preferring roomier utility vehicles over affordable hatchbacks.
Maruti Suzuki said the transition to vehicles powered by cleaner fuels would also see large contributions from other alternative fuels.
By FY31, it expects 15% of its overall sales to come from EVs, 25% from hybrids and 60% from internal combustion engine-powered vehicles, which are going to use alternate fuels—such as compressed natural gas, biogas, flex fuels and ethanol-blended fuels.