Eco-friendly electric vehicles are a new concept but have the potential to occupy about 2 to 5 per cent of the Indian market in the next few years, a top official at auto major Mahindra has said, underlining the need for significant incentives to make them commercially viable.
"We remain very optimistic that electric vehicles will become a significant portion, about two-five per cent of the Indian automotive industry, in the next four-five years," Pawan Goenka, Executive Director and President (Automotive & Farm Equipment sectors) at Mahindra told PTI here.
He said while electric vehicles may not become mainstream soon, but for them to become commercially viable for consumers there has to be a significant government incentives across the world. Goenka said that till now there was not much initiative in India for electric vehicles but the new government has earmarked in its annual budget Rs 75 crore for faster adoption and manufacturing of electric vehicles in 2015-16.
"I am hoping that starting in fiscal year 2016, we will start to see an uptake in the electric vehicles volumes," he said.
Mahindra is among the 10 teams competing in the Formula E, the world's first fully-electric racing series.
Goenka was in the city for the US debut of the Formula E Championship that was attended by other senior company executives. He said Mahindra has very high aspirations for electric vehicles, including bikes and two-wheelers and participating in the race is giving it tremendous exposure in terms of technology and brand development.
In the segment, Mahindra has invested heavily in its Reva Electric Vehicles as well as in California and Ann Harbour in the US to design and manufacture the product.
Goenka said the concept of electric vehicles is new for consumers and the off-take of volume has been slow as it takes time for them to become comfortable and used to electric vehicles. To ensure a shift in consumer preference towards electric vehicles, Goenka stressed that there is need to develop infrastructure in India for such vehicles including charging stations.
On the Formula E series, Goenka said the racing event will help generate awareness about electric vehicles among general consumers and the response to the series has been increasing with each passing race.
"The most important deliverable of the race is to make people excited about electric vehicles and to show them that they are not dull vehicles," he said adding that participating in the race aligns well for Mahindra's strategy to become one of the major players in electric vehicles as they become mainstream.