India not yet ready for electric cars: Honda Cars India CEO

Hyderabad: Honda Cars on Friday said India is not yet ready to have electric cars in large numbers due to the lack of necessary infrastructure and affordability factor.

Yoichiro Ueno, President and CEO of Honda Cars India said here that his company is developing electric cars but to anticipate a significant number of such cars plying on Indian roads is little early, chiefly because of infrastructure and affordability reasons.

“Honda is developing electric cars. However, we believe it is too early for India to talk about electric vehicles. One thing is infrastructure. And secondly the car price will be more than double (when compared to ordinary car),” Ueno told reporters in a press conference.

“Indian is so price sensitive. So it looks difficult (for electric cars) and also the development of infrastructure in a country as large as India will take a lot of time,” he said.

The statement assumes significance in the wake of recent announcement made by Union Power Minister Piyush Goyal that the country is looking at having an all-electric car fleet by 2030 with an express objective of lowering the fuel import bill and running cost of vehicles.

The automobile major recently reportedly announced that two third of its global sales will come from electric vehicles.

Honda sold nearly 1.6 lakh vehicles last year and is looking to grow over 8 percent this year.

“The automobile industry is expected to grow at 7 to 8 percent. We also expect to grow at the same rate on the back of new launches such as New City and WR-V,” he said.

To a query, he said the company which is currently viewed as a premium brand, is mulling over whether to changeover as a ‘mass brand’.

The Japanese car maker said it has received over 30,000 bookings for its ‘Honda City’ since its launch this year in mid-February, and 16,000 for Honda WR-V since mid-March.

Honda has so far invested over Rs 8,000 crore in its Indian operations and is making profits.

It has two manufacturing facilities each at Greater Noida in Uttar Pradesh, and Tapukara in Rajasthan with a combined capacity of nearly 2.4 lakh units per annum.