Electric vehicles hogged the limelight on the first day of India's flagship motor show Auto Expo 2023 with the likes of Maruti Suzuki, Hyundai, Kia, Tata Motors and MG Motor showcasing their futuristic products, while also committing to invest in sustainable mobility.
The show, returning after three years having been hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, opened with the global premiere of Suzuki Motor Corporation's concept electric SUV 'eVX' which is slated to hit the market by 2025.
The company's Indian arm Maruti Suzuki India is among the major manufacturers participating at the expo, in which some major manufacturers such as Mahindra & Mahindra, Skoda, Volkswagen and Nissan along with luxury car makers like Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Audi are not participating.
The Concept eVX is a mid-size electric SUV concept designed and developed by Suzuki Motor Corporation (SMC), Japan. It will be powered by a 60 kWh battery pack offering up to 550 km of driving range on single charge.
"We plan to bring it to market by 2025. At the Suzuki Group, addressing global warming is a priority," SMC Representative Director and President Toshihiro Suzuki said here at the expo while unveiling the product.
On the other hand, Hyundai Motor India launched its all-electric model Ioniq 5 at an introductory price of Rs 44.95 lakh (ex-showroom) for the first 500 customers in the presence of Bollywood superstar Shahrukh Khan. The model is based on the company's dedicated battery electric vehicle platform E-GMP.
"Ioniq 5 represents our shift towards future mobility with tenets that encapsulate intelligent technology, innovation and sustainability," Hyundai Motor India MD and CEO Unsoo Kim said.
Hyundai already sells one EV model, Kona Electric, in the country.
Another carmaker Kia India, which unveiled an all-electric SUV Concept Kia Concept EV9, said it plans to invest Rs 2,000 crore over the next four years to scale up its presence in the electric vehicle segment.
Kia India Vice-President and Head - Sales & Marketing - Hardeep Singh Brar said the company's Andhra Pradesh-based manufacturing plant is ready to roll out EVs.
"This Rs 2,000 crore we are talking about will go into R&D, manufacturing and infrastructure development," he told PTI on the sidelines of the expo.
Keeping with the trend of electric and sustainable mobility, Tata Motors showcased over 20 products across its passenger and commercial vehicles portfolio.
The highlight of the company's showcase is the electric SUV Sierra, which is likely to hit the market in 2025, and the EV version of its mid-sized SUV Harrier that's likely to be commercially launched next year.
"We believe that the transition to electric mobility in India will happen much faster than what we are imagining," Tata Sons Chairman N Chandrasekaran said.
He added that Tata Motors has a number of products lined up in order to cater to the evolving customer needs.
"It is my commitment to you that our investments in this space will be significant so that we can accelerate not only the transition to electric mobility, but give consumers absolutely world class products," Chandra added.
MG Motor India showcased its two electric vehicles MG4, a hatchback, and the MG EHS, a plug-in hybrid SUV, besides launching the updated Hector SUV with prices ranging between Rs 14.72 and Rs 22.42 lakh (ex-showroom).
"Our EV and NEV range of products displayed here demonstrate MG's commitment and endeavours toward faster adoption of green and sustainable mobility in India," MG Motor India President and Managing Director Rajeev Chaba said.
Chinese electric carmaker BYD unveiled its luxury sedan 'BYD Seal' which will have a range of up to 700 kilometres on a single charge. The company plans to launch the model in India by the fourth quarter of 2023.
Luxury carmaker Lexus, a part of the Toyota group, unveiled its 5th generation RX sports utility vehicle in two trims—the RX350h Luxury Hybrid and the RX500h F sport Performance.
In the commercial vehicles segment, VE Commercial Vehicles (VECV) unveiled a range of electric vehicles, including an intercity electric bus that can travel up to 500 kilometers with a mix of depot and 30-40 minute opportunity charging during a journey.
VECV, a joint venture of Volvo Group and Eicher Motors, unveiled a 13.5 metres long electric intercity coach Eicher Pro 2049 electric 4.9 T GVW Truck.
Another commercial vehicle maker Ashok Leyland showcased seven advanced mobility solutions at the Auto Expo, including a battery electric vehicle, fuel cell electric vehicle, hydrogen internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicle, liquefied natural gas vehicle and an intercity CNG bus.
"The range of our new clean-energy products, covering both the truck and bus segments, underscores our capability and readiness to lead the transformation in the road transportation sector," Ashok Leyland Executive Chairman Dheeraj Hinduja stated.
Similarly, Hinduja group firm Switch Mobility unveiled its all-new IeV series—intelligent electric vehicle segment catering to last mile and mid mile mobility applications.
"There is an increasing demand for sustainable mobility solutions in the last mile and mid mile transportation space...We will continue to work on a dynamic portfolio of sustainable products, services and solutions to cater to the growing needs of our customers," Switch Mobility CEO Mahesh Babu said.
JBM Auto also launched its electric luxury coach 'Galaxy', besides showcasing its new series of e-buses, including city bus, staff bus and school bus.
In the two-wheeler segment, electric bike maker Tork Motors unveiled its KRATOS X and KRATOS R electric motorcycles, while another startup Matter also unveiled two concept bikes, which will be launched in the next 12-18 months.
Hexall Motors, an EV startup, unveiled three variants of its cargo vehicle Mammoth along with its passenger carrier variant and EV city bus Bubble.