By 2030, the Indian government wants all public transport vehicles to run on electricity and for 40 % of private vehicles to also run on electricity. However, Toyota wants the government to consider hybrids also as electric vehicles.
N. Raja, a director at Toyota Kirloskar Motors, has said that hybrids already meet Bharat Stage VI (BS6) emission norms even before these norms have come into place, and that they’re actually less polluting than even electric vehicles as more than 80 % of electricity produced in India is through coal (a highly polluting source).
Here is exactly what he said,
We are approaching the government and trying to explain as hybrids are also a part of electrified cars. These are not battery electric cars, but internal combustion electric cars. We understand that by 2040s all the cars will be electric, but till then hybrids will help in the transition to electric vehicles. If you look at pollution factor, the hybrids stand much better than EVs. It is less for electrified hybrid vehicles. Toyota’s strategy is clear. We will also have electric vehicles, but electrified vehicles will have hybrids, plug in hybrids, fuel cells and electric vehicles.
Even Mercedes Benz India MD Roland Folger has said that electric vehicles will pollute more than BS6 compliant internal combustion engined cars as the electricity produced in India from coal is ‘not clean’. This is an argument that many automakers across the world are having with governments as clean electricity is needed for electric vehicles if they have to pollute less than petrol/diesel powered vehicles.
It remains to be seen how the Indian government reacts to Toyota’s proposal. The government now taxes hybrids at a rate of 53 %, which is much higher than the tax for electric vehicles, which stands at 12 %. Unless the taxes on hybrids aren’t lowered, car makers are unlikely to launch hybrids instead of electric vehicles.