Volkswagen Chief Admits India Is Not Ready For Electric Vehicles
Kia Motors showed the Soul electric vehicle, besides the Niro and Optima hybrids. 
Kia Motors showed the Soul electric vehicle, besides the Niro and Optima hybrids. (Photo: The Quint)

Volkswagen Chief Admits India Is Not Ready For Electric Vehicles

German auto major Volkswagen says India is not "really prepared" for a leap towards full electric vehicles (EVs), although the government's move to put it on the agenda is a good step.

The company, which has announced plans to expand production of EVs worldwide on a massive scale with 16 locations to produce battery-powered vehicles by the end of 2022, also said India should be clear about what kind of technology it wants.

Another factor, which is also deterring Volkswagen from accelerating launch of its EVs in India, according to Lauermann, is the new import duties (as) they are absolutely not fitting in our strategy.

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I believe it was a good step from the government to put it (EVs) on the agenda. It is absolutely necessary for India. But we all know that India is a not really prepared for such a step at the moment. Also in terms of technology, India should be clear what kind of technology it wants. On the compatibility of the company’s existing EVs with the Indian market, he said, “When we look at our EVs at the moment with the technology, it is a little too early there (in India).”
Andreas Lauermann, President and Managing Director, Volkswagen India

Also Read : Policy soon on electric vehicles, charging infra: Minister

Recently, the Indian government think tank Niti Aayog had said there was no need for an electric vehicle policy, and technology should not be trapped by rules and regulations.

There is no visible plan for the future development in term of technologies, Lauermann said.

Also Read : Ola’s Electric Vehicle Test in India a Red Flag for PM Modi’s Plan

On hike in import duties on automobiles imposed by India, he said, “it was clearly against European auto firms and this is not acceptable.” He, however, said Volkswagen hasn't taken a final decision on increasing product prices in India.

In the Budget for 2018-19, Indian government increased custom duty on CKD (completely knocked down) imports of motor vehicles, motor cars, motor cycles from 10 percent to 15 percent.

Further, duty on CBU (completely built units) imports of motor vehicles (trucks and buses) had been hiked from 20 percent to 25 percent.

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