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Electric vehicle: Most Indian customers could consider buying an electric vehicle by 2022: Study

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NEW DELHI: Most consumers in India would consider buying an electric vehicle by 2022, but most of them also believe that it won’t be until 2025 that the majority of new cars purchased are electric, according to a study by lubricants major Castrol.

The study found that on an average for consumers in India, a price point of Rs 23 lakh (or USD 31,000), a charge time of 35 minutes and a range of 401 kilometers from a single charge represent the ‘tipping points’ to achieve mainstream EV adoption.

Consumers in India are seeking a lower price point for EVs than consumers in other countries, with the global average tipping price point for EVs being at USD 36,000 (around Rs 27 lakh), it said.

Castrol took the response of over 1,000 consumers, fleet managers and industry specialists across India this year as part of a survey of nearly 10,000 people across eight of the world’s most important EV markets.

As per the report, on an average consumers in India said they would consider purchasing an EV by 2022. This is two years earlier than the global average of 2024. However, two thirds (67 per cent) of consumers in India said they are adopting a “wait and see” approach. Over 40 per cent of fleet managers said they are waiting for competitors to make the switch before they do.

The study also found that misconceptions about maintenance costs could be stopping consumers from making the switch with 83 per cent of Indian consumers stating that these costs were preventing them from buying a fully electric car.

The time taken to charge battery was identified as the second most important challenge to the mainstream adoption of EVs and consumers in India said they require an average charge time of 35 minutes before they would consider purchasing an EV. This is several minutes longer than the global average of 31 minutes, the report said.

“Nearly three quarters (72 per cent) of those questioned believe EVs will only dominate on the roads once they can charge in a similar amount of time as it takes to refuel an internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicle,” it added.

Stating that ‘range anxiety’ is real, the report said 64 per cent of Indian drivers agreed that it is a significant barrier to mainstream adoption of EVs.

“On an average, they expect a range of 401 km (from a single charge), approximately equivalent to the distance between Ahmedabad and Indore,” it said.

Commenting on the findings, Castrol India MD Sandeep Sangwan said,”Castrol’s global research shows that consumers are positive about making the switch to electric, buyers in India are keen to do so earlier than those in other markets.”

He further said,”Although consumers in India are seeking a lower price point than consumers in other countries, they are also willing to accept a slightly longer charge time and a slightly shorter range.

“These market-specific nuances are important. Accelerating the ‘EVolution’ provides a clear road map for the industry to help support the transition to accelerate mainstream adoption of EVs in India and around the world,” Sangwan added.

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Ford unveils new self-driving test vehicle for 2022 launch

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Ford Motor plans to launch its self-driving vehicle businesses in 2022 with vehicles based on its Escape Hybrid crossover.

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Ford Motor plans to launch its self-driving commercial business in 2022 with vehicles based on the Ford Escape Hybrid crossover, the company said Tuesday.

The vehicles are the automaker’s fourth-generation self-driving test vehicles in partnership with Argo AI, a Pittsburgh-based autonomous vehicle start-up. Ford and German automaker Volkswagen AG split an 80% majority stake in the company earlier this year.

Ford said the vehicles will begin testing this month alongside its current fleet of roughly 100 autonomous test vehicles that are based off the Fusion Hybrid sedan, which the company is no longer producing.

The next-generation vehicles include “launch-intent” technologies that are needed to support commercialization, according to John Davis, chief engineer of Ford’s autonomous vehicle subsidiary.

“With our fourth-generation test vehicle, we have everything we need from a vehicle to stand up our self-driving service,” Davis wrote in a Medium post Tuesday

The upgrades include higher resolution cameras, more capable radar sensors and more advanced Lidar technology, which uses lasers to map surrounding areas.

Ford plans to integrate the new vehicles into test fleets in Austin, Texas; Detroit; Miami; Palo Alto, California; Pittsburgh and Washington, D.C.

Ford initially planned to launch a commercial self-driving vehicle business in 2021 but delayed it until 2022, citing delays due to the coronavirus pandemic. It also previously announced plans to use a purpose-built autonomous vehicle without manual controls such as a steering wheel and pedals for its commercial fleet.

A Ford spokesman on Tuesday confirmed that those plans remain in tact but will be based on several factors, including safety, regulations and community acceptance of self-driving vehicles.


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MSSL signs strategic agreement to acquire Bombardier’s Electrical Wiring Interconnection Systems business

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New Delhi: Auto component major Motherson Sumi Systems Limited (MSSL), via its Mexican subsidiary, Motherson Rolling Stocks S. de R.L. de C.V. (MRS), Tuesday said it has signed an asset sale and purchase agreement to acquire the activities of Electrical Wiring Interconnection Systems (EWIS) performed at Bombardier Transportation’s manufacturing site in Huehuetoca, Mexico (BT Ensambles México) .

MRS is part of the Motherson Rolling Stock Division which designs and manufactures electrical cabinets, power packs and electrical distribution systems for leading rolling stock manufacturers.

MSSL, through PKC Group (acquired in March 2017), is engaged in the manufacturing of wiring harnesses for rolling stock, mainly in Europe and the Americas region. In 2019, the company through its subsidiary Motherson Rolling Stock Systems GB Limited, UK (MRSS) acquired Bombardier’s UK rolling stock electrical component and systems business in Derby. Now, with the execution of this definitive agreement between MRS and Bombardier, the relationship will expand to Mexico.

The transaction includes the transfer of assets, employees and inventories, on a debt-free and cash-free basis and is valued at around $ 10 million approx. (subject to customary adjustments). The revenue of the said business was $ 25 million for calendar year 2019. The transaction is subject to customary closing events and expected to complete in Q4 FY20-21.

BT Electrical Wiring Interconnection Systems (EWIS) provides world-class harnesses and electrical assembly based on standard solutions. MRS will continue manufacturing the same electrical harnesses product as today at the Huehuetoca site in Mexico with enhanced efficiency in time-to-market, on-time delivery and cost structure. Both companies are now working on the smooth transition of employees and business, to mitigate any potential impacts and expect to close the transaction in Q4 FY20-21.

Vivek Chaand Sehgal, Chairman, MSSL said, “Our focus is always on adding value to our customers’ supply chain and catering to their requirements. This is another step forward in that direction. We are further strengthening the relationship with Bombardier under the global partnership agreement and our collective strength will position us as a preferred solutions provider to our customers in the rolling stock business.”

“The acquisition of the business will enable us to be a truly global partner to our customers as we get the opportunity to serve them in the North American market”, said Andre Gerstner, President, Rolling Stock Division, PKC Group.

“The global rail market is extremely dynamic and has become increasingly competitive. Bombardier Transportation aims to enhance its adaptability and agility to changing market conditions, in order to continue to increase its competitiveness and improve its global footprint. This divestiture is in alignment with our global transformation strategy of reducing the activities to our core- and integrating competencies”, said Jim Vounassis, Chief Operating Officer, Bombardier Transportation.

“The transaction is beneficial to both parties since Bombardier has been seeking to establish a long-term supplier partnership for electrical harnesses and assemblies in the Americas region and MRS is an excellent strategic partner for this”, added, Elliot G. Sander, President, Americas Region, Bombardier Transportation.


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GM to invest more than $2 billion in the U.S. to increase EV production

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Engines assembled as they make their way through the assembly line at the General Motors (GM) manufacturing plant in Spring Hill, Tennessee, August 22, 2019.

Harrison McClary | Reuters

General Motors is investing more than $2.2 billion in its U.S. manufacturing operations, largely to increase production of electric vehicles, the company announced Tuesday.

The investment is the latest for the Detroit automaker as it pivots toward EVs under GM CEO Mary Barra’s “triple zero” vision of zero crashes, zero emissions and zero congestion — an overarching goal for the company.

Since March 2019, GM has committed to invest more than $4.5 billion in three U.S. manufacturing sites to prepare for EV-related production. The company has previously said it plans to release at least 20 new electric vehicles globally by 2023, including the upcoming GMC Hummer EV, which will be unveiled Tuesday night.

“We are committed to investing in the U.S., our employees and our communities,” Barra said in a statement. “These investments underscore the success of our vehicles today, and our vision of an all-electric future.”

Shares of GM were up about 5% on Tuesday ahead of the Hummer unveiling and as BofA Securities said GM’s “sold business plan” is not reflected in the company’s stock price.

The more than $2.2 billion in new investments will occur in the coming years, according to the company.

Roughly $2 billion of that money will go toward a plant in Spring Hill, Tennessee, for production of future electric vehicles, including the recently unveiled Cadillac Lyriq crossover. Renovation work at the facility, which will be GM’s third in the U.S. to produce EVs, will begin immediately, according to the automaker.

In connection with the announcement, GM will eventually move production of the GMC Acadia from the Tennessee plant to a facility in mid-Michigan. The company said it will invest more than $100 million at the Lansing Delta Township plant for assembly of the next-generation Acadia crossover at an undisclosed time.

Separately from EVs, GM on Tuesday also announced new investments of roughly $53.3 million at four plants in Michigan to increase production of its heavy-duty pickup trucks, self-driving Cruise AV test vehicles and 10-speed transmissions.


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