Toyota is clear that the Indian government’s plan of electrifying all vehicles plying on roads here by 2030 is a target that is not possible to achieve. The automaker feels that the government should focus on encouraging hybrid vehicles instead. Toyota feels that vehicles in India will shift to electric power completely only by 2050, and until then hybrids could be a bridge technology that helps all stakeholders make the shift from petrol/diesel powered vehicles to all-electric vehicles. Presently, Toyota sells two hybrid cars in India – the Camry and the Prius. The Japanese automaker plans to launch more hybrid cars in the coming years.
Here is what Shekhar Viswanathan, the Vice-chairman and whole-time director at Toyota Kirloskar Motors said about the government’s plans to electrify all vehicles in India by 2030,
The central government itself has backtracked on the 100 per cent e- vehicles by 2030 target. They realised that you can’t have electric charging infrastructure in place by 2030 to achieve that target. I think this is going to become a reality only by 2050. Second we (TKM) are well positioned to introduce all types of technology products whether electric, hybrid hydrogen and any other technology that may come up in the next five years. Our message for the Government of India is we don’t have charging infrastructure today. It will take 20 to 30 years to build that charging infrastructure. In the interim period, we believe that the ideal solution is hybrid vehicles. This is what we told the Government. And the Government will not have to spend a single penny in creating charging infrastructure.
Clearly, Toyota thinks that the lack of charging infrastructure in India will be a major limiting factor when it comes to electric cars. The automaker feels that India needs at least 2-3 decades before electric charging stations become as prevalent as petrol and diesel fuel stations. Hybrid cars, which emit far lower emissions than petrol/diesel cars, while also saving a lot of fuel, could be what India needs as an interim solution. It remains to be seen if the Indian government takes Toyota seriously and encourages hybrid vehicles by providing incentives that are currently earmarked for electric vehicles.