An astounding 68 per cent of Indians--the second largest after the US (74)--will prefer the tried and tested internal combustion engine-powered vehicles as their next purchase. Interestingly, among the remaining 32 per cent who are open to buying an alternative fuel vehicle, a staggering 24 per cent prefer a hybrid as their next vehicle while only 4 per cent prefer a pure EV, according to a recent global survey conducted by Deloitte. This is the second-lowest, after the US, where only 16 per cent prefer EVs.
The trend comes as a stark contrast for a market like India, where EVs and not hybrids are getting the subsidy push from the policymakers under the Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Hybrid and Electric Vehicles
(FAME) scheme. The scheme aims to make EVs more affordable by way of subsidies, improve India’s charging infrastructure for EVs and support the electrification of public transport. It also aims to reduce vehicle emissions and dependence on fossil fuels in a country home to the world's most polluted cities.
According to Rajeev Singh, Partner and Leader—Automotive at Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu India, hybrids can be a good stepping stone, an “excellent bridge” till India transitions to EVs fully. “Close to 26 per cent of Indians surveyed cited the lack of charging infrastructure as the biggest impediment in faster adoption of EVs. As this is something that cannot be created overnight and will take 5 to 6 years, the hybrid can be a good solution for the interim period till the infrastructure is created.”
To be sure, an exorbitant price that comes on the back of high import duties and lack of subsidies have made hybrids a non-starter in India. Japanese carmakers including Honda, Toyota and Suzuki have been lobbying with the government for a favourable policy push to hybrids under FAME
but after some benefits were announced in the first phase of the scheme it was discontinued.
According to Singh, a requisite policy push with a specific mention of the hybrid category --full or mild that are eligible for the scheme will ensure that it’s not left open to interpretation and taken undue advantage of. A well-rounded policy will help in localization, cost reduction, and faster adoption of hybrids. The technology is a win-win for all the stakeholders- for customers as it reduces range anxiety, for manufacturers as it allows them to make a smooth transition and for policymakers as it gives them time to create charging infrastructure.
The technology is a win-win for all the stakeholders- for customers as it reduces range anxiety, for industry as it allows them to build right products, localize & create charging infrastructure and for policymakers to make a smooth transition to ZEV's meeting our overall goals of reducing pollution & reducing dependency on imported oil.