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Kia Motors has revealed plans to develop a new low-cost electric vehicle for the Indian market. The low-cost EV will be developed in partnership with parent company Hyundai. It hasn't been specified as to what body type it will be. However, since they have mentioned low-cost, it is easy to assume that it would be a small hatchback.
Kia Motors entered India with plans of launching vehicles in different segments. At the 2018 Indian Auto Expo, the Korean car manufacturer revealed that it would launch four new products in a time-span of two years.
It is safe to assume that the four products would be of different body types and compete in different segments. At earlier events, Kia had time and again specified that Kia is entering India as an individual entity and it would have no association with its parent company Hyundai in terms of product development.
Now though, things have taken a rather interesting turn. According to PTI, Han-Woo Park, CEO & President of Kia Motors Corporation said, "We are still working on how to make low cost EV. I am considering to develop EV for Indian market together with Hyundai."
Hyundai and Kia are both from South Korea and both brands have a great reputation across the globe. Thought Kia is officially under the ownership of Hyundai, both brands have grown individually and enjoy large shares in various international markets. Kia and Hyundai coming together to develop a low-cost electric vehicle for the Indian market could very well change the EV scenario in India.
However, Park did mention that the government has a large role to play in this. He further said, "We are ready to introduce EV car in India but it depends on infrastructure and government support policy. When the market is opportune, we will introduce the EV anytime to India"
The government of India is doing everything in its capacity to promote the adoption of electric vehicles. This includes the FAME II scheme under which the government has allotted Rs 10,000 crores as subsidies for EV buyers. However, these subsidies have been allotted for private buyers of two-wheelers only.
Those buying four-wheelers for commercial purposes can avail of the subsidy, but not those who wish to buy it for private use. This is ey we see Mahindra eVeritos and Tata Tigor EVs being used as taxis, but not as private vehicles. Han-Woo Park therefore emphasized that the government needs to do something about privately-owned electric four-wheelers if any progress was to be made.
Kia already makes the Soul EV for international markets and it has seen reasonable success, but even if it is assembled in India or manufactured here, it will still be too expensive. Hence, Kia is now open to a collaboration with Hyundai to develop a low-cost EV.
Thoughts On Kia & Hyundai To Develop Low-Cost EV For India
Developing a low-cost electric vehicle for the Indian market is no child's play. The EV market in India is currently at a nascent stage and there are barely any EVs on sale today. The few Evs on sale are proving to be too expensive to compete against their fossil-fueled counterparts.
The government is pushing hard to get its EV dream going, and if it works with manufacturers seeking the government's help, significant headway would be made into the development of EVs.