The Hush Post: The Auto Expo 2018 has unveiled a plethora of vehicles in the market for all economic segments. With the increasing aspirations of people at all social levels, the automobile industry has a lot to gain too. According to data provided by the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM), 25 million automobiles were produced in the financial year 2017 in India.
Contrary to popular belief, two-wheelers accounted for an interesting 78 per cent and passenger cars for mere 15 per cent of production volume in FY17. India’s automotive industry also saw growth in the overall automobile exports at 13.01 per cent year-on-year between April-December 2017. Electric cars, which are entering the market now, are going to take the country by storm in the coming years. Though India unveiled ‘National Electric Mobility Mission Plan (NEMMP) 2020’ in 2013 to get more electric vehicles on the roads, some of the recent investments in the automobile sector in India point to a growing trend of electric cars. The first electric automaker in India, Mahindra and Mahindra Ltd, has partnered with Uber for deploying its electric sedan e-Verito and hatchback e2o Plus on Uber platforms in New Delhi and Hyderabad. The Karnataka government is going to obtain electric vehicles under FAME (Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of (Hybrid) and Electric Vehicles in India) scheme and set up charging infrastructure across Bengaluru.
The Ministry of Heavy Industries has shortlisted 11 cities in the country for introduction of electric vehicles (EVs) in their public transport systems. Ministry for Power and New and Renewable Energy is planning to procure 10,000 e-vehicles via demand aggregation, and has already awarded contracts to Tata Motors Ltd for 250 e-cars and to Mahindra and Mahindra for 150 e-cars. Lets have a look at the new productions of the automotive industry.
Mahindra’s electric hatchback, e2o
The indigenous car maker has revealed an updated version of the electric car which is expected to launch in India this year. It has bull-horn LED elements in the headlight along with funkier alloy wheels; has a bigger, tablet-like touchscreen infotainment system with all the connectivity features like Bluetooth, AUX-in and USB, placed right in the middle. It has a 72 V battery with a range of 140 km. It takes nine hours to charge with a regular charger and takes 90 minutes to charge with fast charger (80 per cent charge)
DC showcased its newest car TCA at the Auto Expo 2018. The TCA, an abbreviation for Titanium, Carbon and Aluminium, is the latest creation from Dilip Chhabria and is nothing short of a stunner. The design of the TCA takes inspiration from the Ferrari La Ferrari and the Pagani Zonda (that’s especially visible at the front). It’s a mid-engined car with carbon fibre used. The production of the TCA will begin in October. It is a limited edition model with only 299 units made and each will be personally signed by the creator Dilip Chhabria himself. With a 3800cc engine, it has a six speed automatic transmission. The TCA is the older and more luxurious cousin of the Avanti and it will come at a price, expect prices to cross the Rs 65 lakh mark.
It is Maruti’s torchbearer for future electric mobility solutions. The e-Survivor depicts Maruti’s foray into electric cars, something it describes as F.A.C.E.(It stands for Four-wheel drive, Autonomous, Connected and Electric), which reveals that the SUV will be capable of autonomous driving. In terms of design, the e-Survivor gets a ladder frame and a compact body with a contrasting colour scheme. The two-seater version was launched at the Auto Expo while the four-seater version would be officially launched in 2020. Suzuki has already begun work on setting up a battery plant for electric vehicles in Gujarat and has also tied up with Toyota to form an electric vehicle plan for India by 2020.
KIA Motors’ SP
Making its global debut, KIA Motors unveiled the SP Concept. The South Korean car maker will take on the Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza, Ford EcoSport and the likes in the segment. With its upright proportions, short overhangs and feature-rich cabin, the SP Concept was a sure shot showstopper at the expo.
An electric scooter, it is capable of hitting 0-100 kmph in just 5.1 seconds. The concept scooter can also charge up to 80 per cent capacity in just 60 minutes to its lithium-ion battery pack. No information on its production is available yet.
It is the newest concept from Tata Motors and by far, the company’s most beautiful design yet. It is the brand’s premium hatchback with sleek proportions and flowing design language. Tata calls it the ‘Impact 2.0’ language. With a price tag that undercuts both the Baleno and Elite i20, the car will actually sit in the sub-5 lakh rupee bracket.
The only actual official launch at the exhibition, it is priced at Rs 4.99 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi), while deliveries should commence towards the end of this month. The very popular hatchback has moved into a new generation and sports a rigid and lighter chassis while getting a completely new design language, premium features and improved safety. There’s also a diesel automatic version this time round.
The Japanese car maker’s highly awaited model from Toyota made its public debut at the expo and will go on sale later this year in India. The Toyota Yaris competes with the Honda City, Maruti Suzuki Ciaz and Hyundai Verna in the segment. The car will be offered with a 1.5-litre petrol engine in the beginning. For the Indian market, the new Yaris will be produced in Bangalore and seems to be a distant relation to the Yaris hatch sold in Australia, Europe, Japan and North America.
Honda Activa 5G
The updated Honda Activa 5G gets a new Deluxe variant with some additional features. It gets two new colour options– Dazzle Yellow Metallic and Pearl Spartan Red. The price has not been announced yet. A new front hook to carry small bags and an extra durable protector for the muffler are the two new features that have been added. The instrument cluster has been tweaked. A digital display has been included that displays information like the additional service due indicator and ECO options. Mechanically, the 2018 Honda Activa 5G is the same as before. The motor was upgraded to BS-IV emission norms last year.
Honda Motorcycle and Scooter India (HMSI) has unveiled the 2018 CBR250R. It was pulled off the market last year when it did not get BS-IV upgrades. For 2018, the Honda CBR250R now gets an all-LED headlamp with position lamp. It has two new sporty colours, mars orange and striking green. The existing colour options continue to be on sale. The bike also continues to get dual-channel ABS as optional on the 2018 model. There has been no change in the design of the bike.