Toyota India directors and vice chairman Shekhar Viswanathan is the latest car industry executive to speak up against the Indian government’s ambitious plan of electrifying all cars running on Indian roads by 2030. Mr. Viswanathan says that the customer should be allowed to decide and manufacturers should be allowed the leeway to cater to the customer’s choice. He also remarked that many parts of India still didn’t have regular power supply, and the government needs to be cautious while making statements like switching to all electric by 2030.
Here is what he said,
The government’s ambitious target of all-electric fleet from 2030 is “not practical, and it’s not the way forward. In time to come, others may choose hydrogen because there is zero pollution in hydrogen vehicles. So, I think the government has to recognise this, be technology-agnostic, and encourage all technologies and fix the tax rates accordingly. All technologies must be encouraged because nobody knows which technology is going to succeed. I don’t think electric vehicles is the immediate answer. Yes, there will be a certain percentage of vehicle population which will have electric, but we still have to rely on internal combustion engine, hydrogen vehicles and hybrid vehicles for the remainder.
Toyota has been pushing for hybrid cars in the Indian market, and was the first company to persist with a full-hybrid car in the form of the Prius. Toyota believes that hybrid cars offer a perfect bridge between cars powered by petrol/diesel and full-electric cars. Toyota has also been upset with the government’s approach towards hybrid cars as the GST increased taxes on hybrids to a whopping 53 %, forcing Toyota to discontinue selling the Camry Hybrid here, which became much pricier than its petrol-engined sibling after factoring in the higher taxes. Toyota is now scrambling to produce electric cars for India by tying up with Maruti Suzuki.