Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari’s firm call to end fossil-fuel driven
automobiles and move in for electric vehicles has elicited immediate and
equally firm responses from the industry leaders.
Interpreting Gadkari’s unambiguous words as an expression of intent of
the government, Maruti Suzuki Chairman, R.C.Bhargava has said, as reported in
the media, that Maruti supports the intent and at the same time, the company
cannot force the customer ‘ to buy’ EV unless it is good for the customer.
The statement of the minister must be seen an earnest efforts to
persuade the industry to reorient itself to the changing conditions.
“Mr Gadkari and the government are not
going to kill this industry,” he said. “They can’t, they won’t, why should
they? This industry is a huge generator of wealth and employment for the
country. But they (the government) want the industry to adopt a new direction
and to tell the industry that we are serious about it.”
“That is all that they are doing. So, it is now
for industry to see how to make it happen and make a sincere effort to make it
happen,” he added.
After saying that the government must get inputs from various segments
of the industry, he puts the statements of the Minister in an interesting
perspective, in a way, insightful.
“I think in some ways I appreciate what
Mr Gadkari is trying to say because by and large the government announces
things and says things but doesn’t follow through in implementation,” he said.
“Implementation is our weakest area. If Mr
Gadkari says he is going to bulldoze, and I hope by bulldoze he means get
implemented, what could be better? So, in some ways I am quite sympathetic with
what he said.”
Daimler's Chief Executive
Dieter Zetsche on Monday said Mercedes-Benz will offer
electric versions of all its models by 2022, converting its Smart city car
brand to become fully electric.
Speaking at the company's investor day in Sindelfingen, Germany,
Daimler said it will offer at least 50 electrified versions of Mercedes-Benz
passenger cars in a hybrid and fully electric car variants.
Interpreting the words of the Minister
as the direction and the target given by the government, Director General,
Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers Association (SIAM) said, “We will
put all our energy and resources and focus on a particular direction, still we
are going to achieve at least 30-40 percent. The direction is very clear. We have to move as quickly as possible
towards the all-electric. So I look at it more as a direction, then as an end
date. Obviously, it can’t be an end date. The other countries are saying, they
will do it by 2040. So it is a process, we are starting a process and starting
it very seriously. That is the way we are looking at it."