EVs to focus more on the mid-luxury segment
If you thought that electrical vehicles (EVs) were all about utility, think again. The latest battle that is heating up in the Indian market is for high-end EVs. These are typically EVs that cost in the range of Rs.60 lakhs to Rs.2 crore.
They typically have a single charge run range of around 250 KM up to 500 KM. Some of the big auto majors with luxury EV plans in India include Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Jaguar Land Rover and Volvo. This big shift to luxury EVs could happen in the next few months as they bring in globally tested models.
Obviously, the big challenge for these premium car makers will be to keep the costs in check. Manufacturing in high cost centres and sell at reasonable prices in India is not going to be workable. That is why; most of these high-end car makers are also eyeing local manufacture.
They will set up dedicated plants in India to strait jacket their offerings to the Indian markets. At the same time, they will also look to keep the prices competitive as they start to churn out higher volumes over a period of time.
Some of the luxury global names like BMW are quite active on this front. They foresee the customer base for premium vehicles has having substantially evolved in the last ten years. There are key trends that are emerging.
Most people are conscious about things like greening of the environment, carbon footprint etc and want to make an active contribution in reducing fossil fuels. Hence, a smart and conscious market is already there. The only challenge is to manage the cost and to customize the offerings for customers.
For starters, BMW is targeting to make EVs 10% of their India portfolio. BMW has already launched 3 pure electric products in a span of less than 180 days. For instance, there is the BMW iX electric SUV, the Mini SE electric hatchback and the BMW i4 electric sedan.
BMW has the right mix of sturdiness, technology quotient and the India experience to create a full fledged portfolio for the Indian EV market. But others are not too far behind with the likes of Mercedes Benz, Volvo and Range Rover having laid out aggressive plans.
The other key player in the luxury EV space is Mercedes Benz, which has already pioneered the luxury EV space with the launch of EQC. In addition, Mercedes Benz is also gearing up to launch the much-awaited EQS luxury EV with a range of 720 km on a single charge.
In fact, Mercedes plans to entirely manufacture the car locally at its Pune plant. They expect the contribution of EVs in their portfolio at over 10% over the next few years.
India may still be just about scratching the surface. In calendar year 2021, global sales of electric cars were 42 lakhs; up twice over 2020 and thrice over 2019. So frenetic growth is actually happening. The one factor that has perhaps held up EV sales from going to the next level is range anxiety.
That is how much distance it can travel with one charge. That is also a function of the sparse spread of EV infrastructure and charging stations. Once that improves, the range anxiety should automatically get addressed.
However, it is not just about the premium names. Even mass market players like Hyundai and Kia are lining up cars for the luxury EV market. Kia has just launched the EV6 at around Rs60 lakhs. It is also planning local manufacture. Most experts are of the view that once the charging infrastructure improves, the growth could be exponential in EVs and the luxury market may get the trigger it has waited all along.
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