CHENNAI: Germany-based Daimler joined a few other automakers to reveal that it had no plans to make electric vehicles (EV) for the Indian market in the next few years, as it found electric buses to be an expensive and inefficient way to control pollution.
“We don’t plan on making electric buses in India in the coming years. It is not an efficient way to deal with the air quality. If you take electric vehicles, there is not only the high investment involved in the vehicle itself as it costs way above the conventional combustion engine, but also the investment in infrastructure. India, being a very large country, needs a lot of improvement in providing the right infrastructure for plying electric vehicles,” said Thomas Fricke, Managing Director, Daimler Buses India.
“Improvement in emission norms, which is already happening, is a more cost-efficient way to reach the same (air quality) goal,” he said.
Earlier, Yamaha R&D head Yasuo Ishihara had also said that his company has no plans to make EVs for the domestic market. Ashok Leyland’s Vinod Dasari too had revealed that the firm has only opted for a single tender for EVs in Ahmedabad this year.
“We plan to focus on higher tonnage buses based on BS-VI norms. The 24-tonne Super High Deck bus is set to replace the Mercedes-Benz 2436 and we expect to sell about 200 units this year, compared to the 70 Mercedes-Benz 2436 model buses sold last year,” Fricke said.
According to Daimler India, the new model is India’s longest luxury coach (15 metres) and offers a high seating capacity of up to 59 pushback seats and 14 cubic metres of luggage space.
Daimler also said it hopes to record an 80 per cent growth in buses this year, the same as last year, as it plans to increase production for the domestic market from its plant in Oragadam, Chennai. The company aims to achieve a 75:30 split between its domestic and international sales from the plant this year.
The automaker’s Rs 425 crore plant in Chennai can produce about 1,500 fully-built buses and chassis of 3,000 units for India and for export to countries like Africa, Latin America, the Middle East and the rest of Southeast Asia.