He said - “I was in New Delhi last week. We have discussed about this with the concerned minister. We will definitely come to India as we see there is a potential market. But we cannot say when the i3 will be launched in India.”
If yes, this will be a game changer. Petrol-heads and speed junkies dismiss EV's due to the lack of torque and power. As electric cars in India are under-powered to keep the costs low, there is wide consensus that these cars cant be powerful. The less we talk bout the lead acid based E-Bike scene in India, the better.
This has lead for many people here in our country to believe that EV's can never have good torque.
Now if we have the likes of BMW, Tesla and Nissan entering our market, it will really be an eye opener for many. It will truly show people that EV's can indeed be fast and wild.
BMW i3 electric is one heck of a car. Its got everything going for it. Carbon-fiber reinforced plastic to improve the vehicle's energy consumption, range of 200 km, optional range extender powered by a 647 cc two-cylinder gasoline engine with a 9 L fuel tank - extending the range to about 300 km.
The car has a top speed of 150 kmph and can also accelerate from 0 to 100 kmph in 7.9 seconds making it a quick car by any standard.
The car weighs less than 1200 kg (The Mahindra e2o weighs 800 odd Kg).
It's powered by a lithium-ion battery pack, which can store 18 kWh worth of energy. (The Mahindra e2o stores about 10 kWh)
The BMW i3 costs 35,000 Euros in France, before the applicable government incentive. Now if they import this car into India, we might as well forget bout this car ever getting popular in India.
At around 30 Lakhs, this will only be a premium car meant for the uber rich.
Even if they decide to manufacture this car in India, i doubt BMW would ever price this car around 10 Lakhs, which is the right price in India, if this car is to get popular here.
We have been down this road haven't we? We have seen both Indian and foreign auto manufacturers come to India, say nice things and postpone any decision to launch an EV for the Indian market.
Remember, when Shahrukh Khan was the ambassador to launch the Hyundai i10 electric car back in 2010. Almost four years later, we still don't know if Hyundai has any plans to launch their BlueOn EV (i10 electric) in India.
Again in 2010, Tata Motors showcased an electric vehicle Nano at the 2010 Geneva Motor Show. The Nano is a perfect car to have an electric drive drain. But the project seems to have gone in stasis.
The Nissan Leaf was showcased here in 2012, but they would rather flood ICE based options here.
The Chevy Beat electric too was showcased here as a demo vehicle, and no one knows bout any launch plans here.
Basically these have been signals by the auto industry to the government that we do have serious alternatives to OIL all they need is support. Over the past four years, the only action we have seen from our government was the cancellation of the subsidy program for electric vehicles!
Then there was the launch of The National Electric Mobility Mission Plan (NEMMP) 2020 in January 2013, with no action after that (as of November 2013). And with elections around the corner, why would one expect any action from our government?
I feel the Auto companies need to launch EVs in India to offer consumers choices, irrespective of government support. They can form an alliance and start educating consumers about the benefits of buying an EV. The alliance can also help in installing DC quick charging infrastructure around various main cities, which would act as an incentive for consumers to buy an EV. More choices for the consumer, could translate to more demand and thus an automatic price correction in the long term. This could also force our government into action when more auto companies lobby for policy changes.
The news, that BMW is even thinking of launching the i3 in India, is a positive. Hopefully we can expect some concrete action next year. We have witnessed the launch of only one electric car in India over the last four years, hopefully the next four years would tell a different story!