Recently, Maruti’s managing director & CEO Kenichi Ayukawa told FE there are no immediate plans to launch electric cars as the government support is not enough and cost of developing them is too high.
While Hyundai has already launched its Kona in India, it has said it could take a couple of years before it launches a more affordable and mass market EV in India.
Overall, these two companies have been quite cautious and conservative.
On the other side are Tata Motors and Mahindra, both of whom have been far more bullish – be it in terms of their announcements or actual launch of electric vehicle models.
Another aspect in which these two sets of companies could differ is in terms of what could be the technology that drives electric vehicles in future: Batteries or Fuel Cells.
Both Maruti Suzuki and Hyundai will have a significant thrust on fuel cells in addition to batteries (both these companies already are selling fuel cell cars in some cars, by the way, though in limited numbers).
Tata and Mahindra appear to be betting more batteries being the EV fuel for the foreseeable future.
Given their current strengths and their geographical focus, it should not be surprising that these companies are taking such different views.
Tata Motors and Mahindra, even though both have global operations, will be highly India-focussed for the near and medium term in the context of electric vehicles. Their perspectives and emphasis will hence have a high India component in them.
Hyundai and Suzuki (Maruti’s parent firm) have a much higher international scope of planning and operations. Hyundai already sells fuel cell cars. Suzuki is also said to be quite bullish on fuel cells and in fact has some fuel cell vehicles (fuel cell scooters for instance) already on the roads. These two companies hence will have a more cautious perspective when it comes to investing in India (which is only one of their many markets) compared to Tata Motors and Mahindra for whom India will be the key market for their EV plans.