At first, the Delhi Auto Expo used to be all about small, affordable cars targeted at first-time buyers. Then, as customer preferences changed, India’s only automobile show started featuring big, bulky sports utility vehicles (SUVs) aimed at an upwardly mobile, aspirational class.
The trend is set to change again. The 2018 Auto Expo next month will see a marked shift towards electric cars and vehicles that run on other eco-friendly technologies.
“The show will be beyond just electric vehicles (EVs). Expect a host of new and futuristic technologies on the showcase,” said Vishnu Mathur, director general of the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers, the industry lobby group that organizes the show to Livemint.
Automakers are shifting their medium- and long-term focus away from diesel and petrol engines as the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government pushes for an all-electric fleet of vehicles on the country’s roads by 2030, seeking to cut carbon emissions and curb oil imports.
At the 2018 Auto Expo, which will run from 9-14 February, India’s largest carmaker Maruti Suzuki India Ltd will showcase its first ever EV concept known as #Concept E-Survivor, which is expected to be introduced in the Indian market in 2020. The car is being developed by Suzuki Motor Corp., Maruti’s parent, in collaboration with Toyota Motor Corp., the world’s largest automobile maker. Maruti will also exhibit a new hybrid vehicle which has been under development. It is known as the next-gen HEV.
Renault India Pvt. Ltd, the local unit of French automaker Renault SA, will showcase one pure electric car which is expected to be launched in India by 2022, according to its mid-term plan (2017-2022). The company will also display hybrid and plug-in hybrid cars.
Hyundai Motor India Ltd will showcase electric cars that it sells globally under the Ioniq brand. New entrant Kia Motors Corp. is expected to display its entire range of hybrid and electric vehicles. Tata Motors Ltd will put on display as many as six electric vehicles, most of which are expected to be electric versions of its current line-up.
At the Auto Expo, the emphasis will be on sustainable mobility, going beyond electric vehicles, said Avik Chattopadhyay, founder of Expereal, a branding strategy firm.