Five Reasons Why Future Vehicles in India Will Be Eco-Friendly
India is looking to shift to eco-friendly cars to control emissions and reduce dependence on imported oil. 
India is looking to shift to eco-friendly cars to control emissions and reduce dependence on imported oil. (Photo: Reuters)

Five Reasons Why Future Vehicles in India Will Be Eco-Friendly

The latest advent in technology has resulted in impressive advancements in the field of alternative fuels. If the 2018 Auto Expo was anything to go by, we are certainly looking at an eco-friendly car era on the rise.

Electric mobility is definitely the future and it comes with untold benefits, some of which we intend to explore. While commercial feasibility of these eco-friendly cars still feels like a long road to travel, Mahindra has already taken the initiative to begin the journey towards it. The launch of its E20 Plus, priced at Rs 6.07 lakh and the Mahindra eVerito, priced at Rs. 9.26 lakh is surely a step in the right direction.

Other car manufacturers may soon follow the path to make eco-friendly cars commercially affordable. Until then we can look at the benefits of using alternative fuels to power our cars. Here are five reasons why the focus will be on eco-friendly cars.

Cost Efficient

India is yet to develop a sustainable infrastructure for all electric eco-friendly cars, but it has already provisioned for hybrids. This is a segment where Toyota has already taken the lead, with the Camry and Prius models already hitting the streets. The company’s luxury automotive arm Lexus, has launched its models as hybrids ranging from an approximate Rs 50 lakh to Rs 2 crore. Consumers have seen sufficient savings in their monthly fuel bills, proving to be a significantly better option in traffic.

Controlled Emissions

The biggest benefit alternative fuels have over their fossil counterparts is that there is no toxic residue. These types of fuels being adapted to eco-friendly cars results in much better fuel consumption, thereby reducing harmful emissions by a considerable amount.

While other measures include reducing the number of vehicles used overall and improving the gas mileage, using vehicles that consume less to no fuels seems to be a better option. Hybrid cars take the lead here, but are soon to be replaced once companies like Tesla enter the market.

Reduced Dependence on Foreign Oil

As the world’s third-largest importer of crude oil globally, India’s demand for oil is enormous. With consumption of oil expected to continue to surge over the coming years, the need for alternative fuels and renewable energy is a must. The automotive industry has to be the first to take this initiative and that means promoting EVs and eco-friendly cars in the Indian market. Further stress over this point can be made due to the rising volatility of the middle-east oil market. We need to reduce our dependence on foreign oil and the easiest way to do that is to switch over to hybrid cars.

Proposed Tax Deductions

The apex industry body Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) has, in a white paper, proposed reduction of GST on eco-friendly cars and alternative fuels automobiles to 5 per cent, besides a one-time income tax deduction of 30 per cent of vehicle price for non-financed buyers.

This concept was introduced in line with the government’s vision to replace all public transport to 100 percent electric by 2030. It further stated “income tax deduction of up to Rs. 1 lakh on the interest component for loans taken may be given every year during the tenure of the loan, like government's scheme on home loans.” Going electric then, may turn out to be a valuable investment after all.

Never Run Out of Power

One of the biggest benefits to eco-friendly cars is that you can simply plug them into standard electrical outlets to charge them. Hybrids have the added benefit of using petrol as a backup for instances where the electrical range runs out. Foreign nations like Italy have already adopted the electric car culture in their infrastructure with quick-charge outlets all over its cities, which are capable of charging these eco-friendly cars to full capacity within 30 minutes. India is soon to follow suit.

All these benefits of using alternative fuels for cars can only be availed if the right initiatives are taken, and that begins with increasing the demand for eco-friendly cars. The rising demand for EVs and hybrids across the globe has resulted in the best of car manufacturers working in line with respective governments to create suitable environments for its development. It is high time for India to step on it and get on with the agenda of the future.

(Amit Bhatia is senior director marketing at Droom. The views expressed are his own.)

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