Mercedes-Benz, the world’s top luxury car-maker, plans to manufacture electric vehicles in India at its factory outlet at Chakan in Pune. The German auto major, that leads the luxury car market in India, feels that the country will emerge as one of the top markets for electric cars in the coming years after the government’s focus on non-combustion technology has increased as well as its efforts to tackle the rising pollution across top cities.
“As the Indian market moves towards electrics, we will be investigating local manufacturing here. As part of our long-term perspective (on India), we want to manufacture here,” Mercedes-Benz India VP for sales & marketing Michael Jopp said.
“When it happens, we would certainly manufacture them at our plant in Chakan, alongside the combustion engine vehicles.”
Mercedes-Benz – that drove in S63 AMG Coupe at Rs 2.55 crore (ex-showroom, Delhi) on Monday – has been taking a closer look at the Indian government’s electric cars policy as it is ready to make its plans for the segment.
Jopp said that there are many “challenges” that still persist which are to be sorted out before local manufacturing can commence. These challenges include the provision of an “eco-system” from the government’s side, that would include having a robust charging infrastructure to power the electric vehicles.
The government should also have a lenient import duty for the clean cars before they achieve sufficient volumes to encourage companies to invest in local manufacturing. “For a certain period, the import duty on electric vehicles should be lowered. This would prompt us to launch them soon at reasonable prices.”
Mercedes, part of the Daimler Group, will start global sales of a new electric sub-brand ‘EQ’ from next year and this will see the launch of a strong line-up of new clean-energy vehicles.
Plans to make electric vehicles in India by a large and sophisticated manufacturer like Daimler will strengthen the government’s efforts to encourage companies to invest in cleaner technologies.