New Delhi: As carmakers the world over struggle to develop affordable small electric vehicles, the Indian government should invest in increasing infrastructure for distribution of CNG and promote hybrid technology in the interim to reduce car emissions in the country, R.C. Bhargava, chairman, Maruti Suzuki India Ltd, said on Wednesday.
He also suggested that providing subsidies will not be a viable way to make small electric cars affordable with rich vehicle owners pocketing most the subsidies.
“CNG is the most affordable and clean, fuel. Then why not use the funds to increase the distribution centres for CNG? The sales of such vehicles have grown by almost 50% this fiscal year," said Bhargava.
Realizing the problem of shifting directly to electric vehicles, the Union government has shown an inclination towards reducing taxes on hybrid vehicles. The government is also contemplating imposing a cess on traditional vehicles to generate funds for electric vehicles.
According to Bhargava, two-thirds of the petrol consumption is by two-wheelers the focus should be on converting these vehicles and that the government should not impose taxes on four-wheelers to incentivize electric two-wheelers.
“One has to find an intermediate solution and hybrid vehicles are needed since they emit less carbon and will result in a 30% cut in oil imports in the future. Nobody is making any headway in electric vehicles and in Europe maybe 30% of the total vehicles will be electric by 2030. And remember, conditions in Europe are much more suited compared to India when it comes to adopting electric vehicles," said Bhargava.
Suzuki Motor Co. and Toyota Motor Co. have collaborated to make small electric and hybrid cars for the Indian market which will be launched in 2019. Maruti Suzuki, Suzuki’s Indian subsidiary, has already started testing 50 units of an electric version of its Wagon R car in Indian conditions.