India is not very electric car-friendly right now, and not many companies consider the country to be an attractive location to launch their electric vehicles. The Government even predicted that India will have 100% electric vehicles by 2030, but even that seems like a distant dream.
India’s hopes, however, got fueled by Tesla’s announcement to launch its cheapest electric car, Model 3, in India and the Government’s initiative to provide incentives to electric car owners. Finally, some Korean companies have actually started to take interest in this area and launch a few cars initially.
Toyota launched the Prius in India long time back, which absolutely bombed the market. It was launched way ahead of its time, and the market wasn’t mature enough to inculcate a fully hybrid electric vehicle. Hyundai, looking at the market, is planning to introduce its Ioniq plug-in-hybrid in India by 2017.
Hyundai Ioniq was introduced at the Geneva Motor Show 2016, held earlier this year, that will be launched in European markets first, following other countries. The Ioniq plug-in hybrid is powered by a 1.6-litre GDI four-cylinder petrol engine that produces 105bhp and 147Nm of torque.
The electric motor works on a 8.9kWh lithium-ion polymer battery with a range of 50kms, and produces 61bhp. The two engines work in tandem with each other, depending upon the conditions and driver’s decision.
What is a Plug-in Hybrid Vehicle?
A plug-in hybrid vehicle is a combination of conventional petrol or diesel engines and an electric motor with a rechargeable battery. These electric motors can be plugged into the grid lines for recharging the battery.
As soon as the battery gets exhausted, conventional engine comes to the rescue and the car can use that engine for drives. Since the PHEVs have dual-motors and can switch between electric and petrol/diesel engines when needed, they often produce less carbon footprints as compared to just gasoline ones.
The best part about these cars is that electricity is not as expensive as gasoline and therefore help save costs. Toyota Prius worked on the same mechanism and there are a lot of other cars like Chevrolet Volt, Mitsubishi Outlander and Volkswagen Passat that employ the same mechanism.
Can this be the start of PHEV era in India?
The Indian automobile market has matured with time, and has started accepting larger hatchbacks that cost the same as a mid-sized sedan, sub-10L SUVs and premium sedans. The incomes in India have also increased with time and made India a very attractive destination.
Just like Hyundai’s other cars, Ioniq houses daytime running LED lights, a fluidic aerodynamic shape and a hexagonal grille. It will be priced at about Rs. 30 Lakh and will compete with Toyota Prius. The car also comes with a six-speed dual-clutch transmission, that is enough to handle the amount of power in the car.
Korean manufacturers have known to be very reliable in India and have time and again proved their mettle. 30 Lakh might be a tad too high for the common public in India, who actually want to make a difference to the environment.
2017 should be an interesting year with the launch of Ioniq and Tesla 3, and maybe some more PHEVs from their Japanese, European and American counterparts.