Keeping pace with the global development in the field of electrical mobility, India is also keeping pace with the pace. However, the long jump directly to the EV means that the hybrid phase has not been taken seriously and, therefore, the regulations have not been well incorporated.
Nevertheless, Japanese automotive players like Honda and Toyota have taken the lead, introducing Indian buyers to hybrid technology, which they believe will pave the way for an electrically driven future.
In recent years, Maruti Suzuki India has been installing light-hybrid badges on its models. This means a small, low-voltage starter-generator technology that accelerates efficiency during initial operation and also provides some torque support. This light-hybrid technology though is not a long-term step in terms of cleaner mobility.
This is followed by plug-in hybrid technology that faces similar infrastructural challenges to use electrical components in optimal productivity. This is why some companies believe that the self-charging hybrid is a suitable technology that is most suitable for the Indian market. This is where Japanese OEMs – Honda, Toyota and Suzuki, bring self-hybrid technology to the 2022 arena.
The basic premise of self-hybrid technology is that it uses petrol-powered engines to generate electricity. This electric drive powers the motor and replaces the battery, allowing the engine to run at maximum efficiency – reducing emissions and maximizing fuel economy.
Why self-hybrids are the best option because they do not leave any reason that bothers the user about charging or refueling, it is as simple as an ICE car. These self-hybrid vehicles are fully capable of running in EV mode, unlike other hybrid versions and the plus point is that they can even run in zero-emission mode.
This is not the first time that India has been introduced to this technology. It also comes with premium models – such as the Toyota Camry and the Honda Accord. The price range has made these vehicles impossible for most buyers. And that’s why the need to introduce affordable but effective technology-enabled vehicles is long-standing.
Marking the presence, as the country’s first mass market hybrid, Honda City e: HEV has entered with Rs 19.5 lakh (ex-showroom price). Offered in a single, full-load variant with added features. In practice, this can be done with some comfort and convenience and can be made more affordable.
Toyota is not far behind and plans to launch a new compact SUV, codenamed D22. Automaker believes in localizing the process and making hybrids more affordable In light of this, Toyota has already announced its investment plans to set up a locally electrified manufacturing powertrain. The D22 will additionally be sold as a Maruti Suzuki model, hoping for promising sales that will ultimately lower the final price.
Undoubtedly, EVs are the future of mobility. However, as far as the current situation in the country is concerned, car manufacturers will take some time to come up with the best range. Currently, despite all the claims, EVs are unlikely to provide a real-world driving range. And this situation will not change soon.
Currently, Tata Motors is the only car maker to offer a range of affordable EVs – Tiago, Tigor, and Nexon – with a budget of over Rs. But these EV variants are 50 percent more expensive than their ICE counterparts.
So, it would not be wrong for us to go ahead with the hybrid until the price of EV comes down and the charging infrastructure is readily available. As with all practicalities, hybrids are only one step ahead when the supporting infrastructure for EVs is ready by all means.
Otherwise Japanese OEMs are pushing for tax cuts but the government does not seem to be in the mood to do so. Currently, hybrid vehicles are subject to maximum tax on GST brackets.