Evolution of Hybrid Vehicles in India
by: Socrates - Consulting & Strategy Club at IIFT
There has been a green buzz in the automotive sector off-late. Companies are coming up with new eco friendly concept cars. The Indian automotive sector is aligning itself to International Emission standards and hence the need to embrace technology and develop vehicles powered by alternate sources of energy. However, going by expert opinion, the Indian market is not ready to adopt such expensive alternatives. The Indian middle class subscribes to a different school of thought They believe that before an electric car becomes the norm, the country’s power generation and distribution should reach every nook and cranny of the country. They believe that before we divert out farmlands for ‘Jatropa’ plantations to have a 85% ethanol blend in our fuels, we need to be food secure. They believe that before we encourage people to travel on the eco friendly public transportation network, we have to ensure that such an infrastructure is in place.
The Indian mindset still associates a car as being a conventional car which is propelled by hydrocarbons – petrol and diesel. It is something which helps you negotiate huge distances in a comfortable setting. One uses it for going to the office daily and also for that odd weekend trip outside the city.
When the Reva, a purely electric car promoted by the Maini group was launched in India, the experts had felt that it was trying to cater to a market segment which barely existed. The other auto majors were willing to wait till they were absolutely sure. They did not want to enter the industry hastily and burn their fingers. Slowly but surely the Reva has risen up the ranks and survived and is now under the aegis of Mahindra which was the first automotive firm in India to display and come up with its Scorpio Mild Hybrid Series of vehicles. Automotive enthusiasts knew about Reva, however it faced an identity crisis amongst the general masses. Advertising and marketing of its electric cars has never been a forte of the company. The word of mouth publicity was too slow to make an effective attempt. Since promoting green vehicles has been on the agenda of the government of India, MTNL (Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited) bought 80 Revas to upgrade its fleet vehicles early last year. With so many Revas on the road each day, the car began to create a mindspace amongst the local masses who spot it so frequently. The sales of the car have increased and the company is working on the vehicle to increase its range. Even though the enlightened masses in the metropolitan cities are turning over a new leaf and waking up to the possibilities of a hybrid vehicle, families still treat a hybrid car as a secondary one. It is bought to add on to the existing fleet of vehicles already in the family garage. It is a long time before we actually start buying a Reva as a priority rather than an adjunct.
To address this, a company has come up with a revolutionary concept titled ‘Revolo’ which is a retrofit hybrid conversion kit similar to the CNG kits which are installed in the cars. Revolo can convert one’s existing car into a hybrid within four to six hours. This concept suitably addresses the Indian resistance to new and expensive hybrids by offering a desi solution which is cheap, does not require you to dispose off your existing vehicle and is in line with the march towards a greener and a better tomorrow. Hence Reva in association with Revolo has the capability to take the Indian automotive sector by storm and create radical shifts in the vehicle usage.
Reva has truly arrived and with it has arrived the age of green wheels.
By: Avinash Shandilya