Gujarat was late when it came to assuming the mantle of India’s Detroit. But that race was for vehicles running on internal combustion engines.
With policy focus shifting in favour of greener technologies and carmakers being forced to adopt electric and hybrid systems, Gujarat leads the race for manufacturing of such systems.
Suzuki Motor Corp.’s recent announcement in this space, has just been followed by JSW Group which has signed an agreement with Gujarat government to promote production of battery operated vehicles in the state along with the production of electrical battery, storage solutions and charging infrastructure. According to a state government release, the company will investment Rs4,000 crore in the venture. According to two officials close to the development, JSW wants to build two lakh vehicles annually and has finalised a location—around 500 acres—near Suzuki’s manufacturing facility in Hansalpur.
JSW Energy’s car factory is expected to start commercial production in financial year 2021.
“The car will have high power, fast pick up will have ultra-fast charging due to which the time for battery recharge will be similar to filling petrol/diesel in regular cars. The running cost of the electric car will be less than Re.1/kilometre,” said a state government official familiar with the company’s plans.
JSW did not respond to an email seeking response.
The Gujarat government has also recently signed an agreement with a Chinese manufacturer for setting up a factory for rolling out electric bikes from Gujarat.
“The proposed factory will come up near Rajkot and will have a capacity to roll out 50,000 electric bikes annually,” said the official refusing to name the company. An announcement on the same is expected to be made soon.
Apart from JSW and Suzuki, MG Motors India and Tata Motors are also looking to produce electric car vehicles from their factories in Gujarat.
MG Motors India Ltd, a subsidiary of China’s largest auto maker SAIC Motor Corp. Ltd is also considering launching electric and hybrid cars in India. The company has recently taken over General Motors India’s manufacturing facility in Halol, Gujarat, from where it looks to launch its iconic MG (Morris Garages) brand vehicles by 2019 starting with an SUV.
“Apart from SUVs and sedans, our product portfolio includes electric vehicles, hybrid, fuel cell among others. All this could be considered for Indian markets where we aim to roll out environment friendly vehicles,” P. Balendran, executive director at MG Motor India told Mint in a July interaction.
Tata Motors is also looking to revamp sales of Nano car by introducing an electric version of the world’s cheapest car at its factory in Sanand, Gujarat, Bloomberg reported. A Tata spokesperson declined to comment.
Ford Motor Co., which has a manufacturing unit at Sanand in Gujarat has said in a press statement that it had joined hands with Mahindra Group to explore a strategic alliance, designed to leverage the benefits of Ford’s global reach and expertise and Mahindra’s scale in India and successful operating model. Among other areas, the two companies were also looking at electrification of vehicles as a potential area of co-operation on which they would collaborate and work together for the next three years. Ford, which also has a manufacturing plant in Tamil Nadu, did not give specific details of future products and where they would be manufactured.