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According to Mercedes-Benz’s country head, India, the luxury electric vehicle market in India is poised for pole position. This will help cement Mercedes-Benz’s status as India’s top-selling luxury car brand and also keep it ahead of Tesla.
Martin Schwenk, a Mercedes-Benz India representative, stated in an interview that the company will launch three electric cars and be the first to build a luxury EV. He said that the company may also produce batteries in India in the future.
“Now, we’re really starting to enter the EV market. Schwenk stated that 25% of India’s sales will be electric within the next five years. Our goal is to be the leader in the electric market.”
Mercedes’ advances come as Tesla, a rival electric vehicle manufacturer has recently placed on hold plans for entry to India because of high import taxes.
Mercedes launched an Indian electric version of its AMG EQS 53 4MATIC performance vehicle on Wednesday. The EQS will be followed by an electric version of the flagship S-Class sedan and an import, electric people carrier later in the year.
The AMG EQS will offer a range of 580 kilometres with a single charge. It is priced at $307,000.
India is a largely low- and small-cost market for cars. Luxury models account for 1% of the country’s annual car sales of around 3 million. Even smaller, the luxury EV market remains untested.
Mercedes, which sells its EQC sport-utility vehicle, in India, will be the first company to assemble a luxury EV. This is due to a lower tax rate of 5% for locally produced EVs, and 100% for imported models. This will give it an advantage over Germany’s Audi, BMW, and Tesla.
Schwenk stated that the 5% tax rate is “quite an incentive” to customers to switch to electric vehicles.
Mercedes will install 140 EV chargers across the country to reduce concerns about range. These include ultra-fast chargers that can charge up to 80% in just 40 minutes.
Schwenk stated that the company may also look at local manufacturing EV batteries or other components if it begins selling ‘thousands of’ models, but current volumes are too low to justify such an investment.
To make sense, you need to have a certain scale. He said that while I won’t exclude it in the future, at this stage, it is not part of our plan. Mercedes intends to invest over 40 billion euros ($40billion) worldwide by 2030 in developing battery EVs.
Schwenk hopes India will align with its plans to shift to EVs quickly and to launch new products.
He stated that “We will follow the global aspiration to convert to electrification” because we believe we are as fast as other markets, sometimes even faster.