India’s biggest show on cars and bikes, the Auto Expo, wound up earlier this week. The biennial show saw some of India’s biggest automakers in attendance while an almost equal number especially the two-wheeler manufacturers decided to skip the show this time around. For majority of those who were there, a common theme was electric signalling the sign of the times. There were many e-vehicles on display, some in production form but a much larger number in concept avatar. Indigenous companies took the lead in presenting a slew of electric options, some of which will be launched in the Indian market in the times to come.
Probably the most talked about concept cum electric car at the Auto Expo this time was the Tata Sierra. Remember the Alpine windows from the original car of the 90s, well that can be seen on the new concept as well making it an interesting mix of past and future. The car also gets slim LED lights and a boxy shape reminiscent of the original SUV. The car is based on ALFA-ARC (Agile Light Flexible Advanced Architecture) platform from the company and if there is encouraging response from the Indian buyer the car might just go into production. The company also showcased recently launched Nexon EV and the upcoming Altroz EV at the show. And finally the HBX small SUV concept from Tata also vowed many at the show. The car might be launched in both electric and Petrol avatars when the day comes.
Home grown giant Mahindra also had a long list of electric vehicles on display at the show. Leading the charge was the Funster, a roaster that promises to increase the fun quotient on the road. The car gets a futuristic styling with 6 illuminated slats and LED strips as headlights. It also gets dual electric motors and a full time AWD system. The company says the car will do 0-100 kmph in just 5 secs, hit a top speed of 200 kmph at the same time giving a very high range of 520 kms. The company also launched the e-KUV in the market priced at a very attractive Rs 8.25 lakh (ex-showroom). Promised range on the vehicle is about 150 kms and its batteries generate a maximum power of 55 PS. Also on display was the XUV 300 electric concept, a car that might hit the roads sooner than you think.
Maruti Suzuki FuturoE
One of the notable world premieres at the Auto Expo was the FuturoE. This electric concept made a lot of heads turn at the motor show. With a coupe cum SUV shape the FuturoE is a first such design from India’s leading car maker. The proportions on the car looked quite balanced with layered bumper fins being a standout. The company also gave a glimpse of the interiors that get flexible swivel seats and layered secondary screens that ensure all vehicle-related information is available on a single touch.
Owing to its compact design the Twizy seems like a near perfect electric vehicle for the crowded Indian roads. The less than 2.5 metre long car produces 17 bhp and weighs less than 500 kgs. It gets to a top speed of 80 kmph while running on those 13 inch wheels. Highlights on this 2 seat car are the gullwing doors and a carbon look roof. The car retails at around Rs 10 lakh in the European markets and because of that high cost is unlikely to come to India. The French car maker also displayed the Electric Kwid called K-ZE and the popular Zoe EV at the show.
German giant Volkswagen made a strong comeback at the show by unveiling the ID.CROZZ concept, another mix of electric, coupe and SUV. The car is based on Volkswagen’s unique Modular Electric Drive Matrix (MEB) for the Indian market. The zero-emissions car delivers an impressive power of 300 bhp. It has a top speed of 180 km/h and can cover up to 500 km on one battery charge. A design highlight is a movable light blind in the illuminated panoramic roof that creates ambient lighting both inside and on the exterior.
The list of electric cars and bikes at the Expo was a long one. Mercedes-Benz the only luxury car maker present at the show displayed the EQC SUV which will launch in India in April. While MG motor showed the MarvelX, a level 3 intelligent SUV, Great Wall Motors from China, making their India debut showcased the R1 electric hatch. On the 2-wheeler front some notable electric unveils were the Piaggio Elettrica and the Hero AE-47 motorcycle which promises a range of 160 kms.