Mercedes-Benz India Looking To Take ‘Early Bird’ Advantage In The Country

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Mercedes-Benz India is working on ways to introduce alternate fuel vehicles in India, including plug-in hybrids and all electric vehicles by 2018. This is two years ahead of the Indian government's plan to introduce stringent emission standards in the country.

In March 2016, the government had advanced BS-VI implementation by four years, skipping BS-V norms.. The earlier plan was to come up with BS-V norms from April 2022 and BS-VI from April 2024, under the Auto Fuel Policy.

Roland Folger, the Managing Director and CEO of Mercedes- Benz India told PTI in an interview,"We can easily meet the BS-VI requirements. All we need is around a year to make the changes. And we can bring in models with alternative drive trains including plug-in hybrids and full electric vehicles from our global portfolio."

"We already have one of the widest ranges of such models globally," he added. He said, the introduction of BS-VI norms would help Mercedes-Benz an early bird advantage.

To achieve the desired goal, the automotive industry in India needs the support of the government in speeding up the certification process and getting better quality fuel on time, according to Folger. "We have our cars ready but we need support and time from the government. We will be BS-VI compatible by 2018 itself," Folger said.

Mercedes has one of the largest range of plug-in hybrids globally, and is also investing towards this technology. Recently, Mercedes-Benz announced an investment of 500 million Euros for a second battery production plant at Kamenz, Germany.

In April 2010, Mercedes' parent company, Daimler had picked up 10 percent stake in Elon Musk's promoted electric vehicle startup, Tesla Motors Inc.

Internationally, Mercedes' electric vehicles include the Smart Fortwo Electric Drive, which has been in the market and is in its third generation. The Smart Fortwo Coupe, Smart Fortwo Cabrio, and the Smart Forfour Electric Drive have made their global debuts at the 2016 Paris Motor Show.

The German carmaker's other electric models include the B 250 e, which has been in the US since 2014, and in Europe since 2015. Mercedes is also developing a multi-model electric vehicle design for battery-powered vehicles and the commercial launch is expected in soon. The carmaker said adding that model globally is expected to bring its electric mobility arm into six-digit figures by 2020.

On the plug-in hybrids class, Mercedes has 13 models, including the S 500 e, C 350 e (Saloon & Estate), the GLE 500 e 4MATIC, and the GLC 350 e 4MATIC, the GLC Coupe 350 e 4MATIC, and the E 350 e.

Mercedes is also launching face-lift versions of the S 500 e next year, according to the company. The carmaker will also put the GLC F-Cell, the company's first fuel-cell powered vehicle with plug-in technology into production from 2017.

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