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CERCA at IIT Delhi turns 1948 Beetle electric

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The Centre of Excellence for Research on clean Air, IIT Delhi, launched its maiden initiative on electric mobility with the retrofitting of an old vintage 1948 Beetle car into an electric vehicle.

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Automakers welcome centre’s proposed Green Tax but transporters against it

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MUMBAI: The automobile industry welcomed the ‘Green Tax’ proposed on old vehicles by road transport and highways minister Nitin Gadkari on Monday, but transporters raised objections against the proposed tax as it may lead to increased costs for them.

According to the proposal, transport vehicles older than eight years could be charged a green tax at the rate of 10-25% of road tax at the time of renewal of fitness certificate. For personal vehicles, the tax will be levied at the time of renewal of registration certificate after 15 years. The proposal will now go to states for consultation before it is formally notified.

The automobile industry has long been lobbying for an incentive-based scrappage policy to take older, more-polluting vehicles off the roads and promote the sale of new vehicles, thus generating demand for the industry. Industry executives called the proposed green tax a step in the right direction as it will disincentivise people from using older vehicles.

“Along with this policy, the government must also institute a much more effective way of certifying the fitness of vehicles, both passenger as well as commercial,” said RC Bhargava, chairman of the country’s largest automaker Maruti Suzuki. “Currently, I believe fitness certificates are only required for commercial vehicles and not for passenger vehicles. But there’s no reason why passenger vehicles should not also be certified for fitness every two years or three years.”

Vehicles must be inspected both for the pollution they cause and their safety, he said.

“My only worry is that at the end of 15 years, if the amount (to be paid as green tax) is not large, it will not be much of a disincentive and people may continue to use polluting and unsafe vehicles,” he said.

If implemented correctly, the green tax will also be a more permanent solution than a temporary incentive-based scrappage scheme, automakers said. Examples from other countries have shown that vehicles sales tend to drop again after incentives on scrappage are eventually repealed.

“The main thing is that this will promote better technology vehicles and get polluting ones off the roads. And since it will be for a long term, it is much appreciated,” said Naveen Soni, senior VP, sales and customer service, Toyota Kirloskar Motor.

However, transporters have objected to the proposed tax as it will force them to retire their vehicles sooner than they are used to without any incentive.

“It is difficult to understand the rationale and basis of an eight-year cut off without having any scientific method of inspection in place. Merely imposing a green tax is not the way to check air pollution,” said SP Singh, a senior fellow at the Indian Foundation of Transport Research and Training (IFTRT), a lobby of transporters. “This latest proposal of putting up a green tax seems to be under pressure from the auto industry lobby.”

The policy in its proposed form will also be partly moot the national capital region (NCR) where registration certificate of older cars cannot be renewed. The National Green Tribunal in 2015 ordered to ban petrol cars older than 15 years and diesel cars older than 10 years from plying in Delhi-NCR.


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Hyundai rides high on SUV wave, bets on innovation to gain market share

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NEW DELHI: Hyundai Motor India made the most out of the SUV wave in 2020, clocking the highest-ever sales with over 1.80 lakh units. Technology and convenience made an impact on consumer behaviour. While Creta and Venue were at the brink of this development, Hyundai smells the opportunity in making the most of 2021.
High waiting periods, on the other hand, seems to be a happy headache for the Koreans. With initiatives upfront like the democratization of turbo engines and the introduction of iMT (clutch-less manual), TOI Auto got into a conversation with Tarun Garg, Director of Sales and Marketing, Hyundai Motor India to understand how exactly the automaker dodged the Covid crisis. Along those lines, Garg also shed light on the future of electrification in Hyundai, the strategy for 2021 and upcoming launches.

Ending 2020 on a high note
Hyundai Motor India’s performance in 2020 alone became the key take away from the conversation. Just before the lockdown in India, the automaker had already rolled out the Hyundai Aura and Creta. Even after the pandemic hit the nation with full force, Hyundai became one of the first automakers to resume production after a brief shutdown. During the lockdown the period, the automaker rolled out the Hyundai Venue iMT, Venue Sport and the Tucson to expand its line-up and bank on the high SUV demand. In late 2020, the 3rd-gen Hyundai i20 made its way to the market to cater to the demand in the highly competitive hot hatch segment.

By the end of CY2020, Hyundai emerged as the top SUV maker selling a little over 180,000 units capturing around 25% of the SUV market. While Creta became the best-selling SUV in 2020, Venue also contributed a good share to the overall sales.
“Hyundai banked on the current SUV trend as the segment held a market share of 29% and became the number one SUV maker in the country. Creta also became the bestselling SUV in the country again,” said Garg.
Keeping up with the evolving customers’ demand
During the conversation, Garg emphasized on the fact that customers need to be pampered with new features, new tech and versatile engine and transmissions. According to the data presented, Hyundai Creta holds an upper hand in the market due to the number of engines offered (turbo-petrol, petrol and diesel), transmissions (IVT, AMT, MT and DCT). The creature comforts offered are all a bonus. For the Hyundai i20, around 30% of the bookings are for variants with a sunroof. Connected car tech, air purifier, wireless charger and ventilated seats have also resulted in increased demand.

12:31Hyundai Creta review: Decoding diesel demand

Hyundai Creta review: Decoding diesel demand

The way Hyundai managed to offer most of the trendy features and add-ons at quite on aggressive price tag worked out pretty well for them and it reflected in the CY2020 sales figures especially in H2 and the decent increase in market share. Hyundai currently has a market share of 17.4% against 17.3% in 2019 and 16.3% in 2018.
“Our decision to offer the customers with so many engines, latest tech, and new features combined with other factors made Hyundai gain market share. Customers are much more evolved now and they’re looking at new tech and they want all this at a very reasonable price. Features like air purifier, wireless charger, connected features, ventilated seats are being appreciated now,” added Garg.
Turbo-engine democratization and the iMT demand
Hyundai has banked on the demand for the turbo engines as now customers look for performance-oriented offerings that offer a good fuel-efficiency at the same. According to the data presented, Hyundai did observe a huge adoption rate for turbo variants in 2020 and introduction of a turbo variant in the entry-level segment (Hyundai Grand i10 Nios), compact sedan segment (Hyundai Aura), hot hatch segment (Hyundai i20) and the SUV segment (Hyundai Venue and Creta) did boost the Korean automaker’s sales in the market up to some extent.

“We introduced our first turbo variant when we entered the sub-4m SUV market with the Venue. And now more than 30% of our customers opt for a turbo variant and the adoption rate is very encouraging too. Now we have a turbo variant across all the segments.”
The iMT gearbox is still a rarity in the market and is currently being offered in just three cars in India out of which two belong to Hyundai- Venue and i20. The Hyundai Venue was the first car in India to offer the iMT and the clutch-less transmission is a hit.

04:27Hyundai Venue iMT first drive review

Hyundai Venue iMT first drive review

“Customers don’t purchase an auto variant because of the pricing, fuel efficiency and some choose to stick to the manual transmission because of the feel. The iMT was introduced to bring the two-pedal tech to India to make the driving experience much more convenient and it only costs an extra Rs 22,000 compared to the MT variant. The iMT also helped Hyundai boost the sales of the Venue,” added Garg.
2021 outlook: Upcoming models and electrification
Hyundai currently has the Kona EV in its electric portfolio and the automaker is already working on boosting its EV offerings. While Garg was quite tight-lipped about the future projects, he did confirm that the Indian market would be seeing the first mass-market EV from Hyundai in the next 3 years. Until then the drive towards cleaner mobility and achieving technology leadership remain to be the key agenda for the automaker.
When asked about the 7-seater version of the Hyundai Creta, Garg said that Creta is a strong brand with 5 lakh units already sold, and the automaker considers opportunities in all segments.
“Creta is a strong brand and it has done very well in the market. I will refrain from giving any guidance on the future products but we as Hyundai have always looked for opportunities in almost all segments and we are always to open to expanding. We have done it before with Creta in the C-SUV segment, Santro in the tall-boy segment, Getz in the hot hatch segment and we’ll continue to look for opportunities in new segments,” said Garg diplomatically.
Any challenges yet?
Hyundai cars, precisely after the festive season, have been coming with an enormous waiting period. But according to the automaker, all’s well in that domain. Hyundai won’t be going ahead with an increase in production and it already has a reliable network but Garg did add that the Korean automaker is making changes in its production and supply chain to cut down the current waiting periods.
When asked about the semi-conductor shortage that has slowed the global auto industry down, Hyundai Motor India seems to have barely been touched by the crisis. Again, Garg positively said that their supply chain is quite comprehensive and all’s well at the automaker’s camp.
“Our supply chain has been very proactive and so far, the situation has been good and the demand is being met seamlessly.”


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Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari okays “Green Tax” for older, polluting vehicles

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New Delhi: The government has proposed to levy a “green tax” on old polluting vehicles, in a bid to control the rising levels of pollution in the country.

Union minister for road transport and highways Nitin Gadkari has approved the proposal, a government statement said on Monday.

According to the proposal, transport vehicles older than eight years could be charged Green Tax at the time of renewal of fitness certificate, at the rate of 10 to 25 % of road tax, while personal vehicles to be charged Green Tax at the time of renewal of registration certification after 15 years.

The proposal will now go to the states for consultation before it is formally notified.

“We are empowering the state government to levy a higher road tax for older, polluting vehicles. The green tax will be part of the road tax collected by the government,” a senior government official told ET about the development.

These are draft guidelines which will go for stakeholders consultation, and will be implemented after approval from State governments, the official added.

A higher green tax, to the tune of 50% of road tax for vehicles being registered in highly polluted cities will be levied, the Centre has proposed.

Vehicles like strong hybrids, electric vehicles and alternate fuels like CNG, ethanol,LPG, besides those used in farming, such as tractors, harvestors, tillers, will be exempt from such tax.

“It is estimated that commercial vehicles, which constitute about 5% of the total vehicle fleet , contribute about 65-70% of total vehicular pollution. The older fleet, typically manufactured before the year 2000 constitute less that 1 % of the total fleet but contributes around 15% of total vehicular pollution. These older vehicles pollute 10-25 times more than modern vehicles,” the statement from the ministry of road transport and highways said.

Gadkari also approved the policy of deregistration and scrapping of vehicles owned by government department and PSUs, which are above 15 years in age. It is to be notified, and will come into effect from 1st April, 2022.

Revenue collected from the Green Tax will be kept in a separate account and used for tackling pollution, and for States to set up state-of-art facilities for emission monitoring, the ministry has proposed.


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