Maruti Suzuki has recently confirmed that it will be ready to launch its first electric car in India by next year. The automaker has been already working on the WagonR Electric, which was first showcased last year at the inaugural MOVE Global Mobility Summit in Delhi.
However the company will be facing challenges including high prices and lack of proper infrastructure & inadequate number of charging stations etc. According to Maruti Suzuki Chairman R C Bhargava:
“The WagonR Electric is being tested and will be ready next year. But what the company can produce and sell will depend on the customer’s willingness to buy the vehicle given the limitations of cost and charging space.”
Currently, Maruti is testing as many as 50 electric WagonRs whereas economic viability will be a key factor in the decision to launch the car next year. Maruti Suzuki MD Kenichi Ayukawa added that Wagon R electric is expected to cost as much as INR 12 lac, whereas the new WagonR petrol model’s price ranges between INR 4.2 lac to INR 5.7 lac only. So Maruti still “studying” a commercial launch for its electric vehicle is understandable.
The government in India levies only 12% tax on electric vehicles, which is significantly lower than the 28% tax levied on internal combustion engine vehicles. Additionally it still doesn’t offer any incentives on the purchase of electric vehicles by private buyers under the FAME II (Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Electric Vehicles) scheme.