After Nitin Gadkari's warning, Maruti Suzuki's Bhargava says customers can't be forced to buy electric vehicles

After transport minister Nitin Gadkari last week made a tough statement by asking the automobile industry to shift to electrical vehicles (EVs), Maruti Suzuki chairman RC Bhargava has today said that customers can't be forced to buy EVs.

"Unless the EV is good for the customer, I can't push him to buy it," The Economic Times report said quoting Bhargava.

However, he is of the opinion that the government's intent to create an all-EV market over the next decade or so is good. The existing fossil fuel-run automobile industry cannot be killed, as it is a huge generator of wealth and employment for the country, he has said.

In order to control polluting vehicles and curb oil imports, Gadkari had last week said petrol and diesel vehicles will need to make way for electric powertrains and engines running on other fuel variants such as ethanol and biofuels.

 After Nitin Gadkaris warning, Maruti Suzukis Bhargava says customers cant be forced to buy electric vehicles

Chairman of Maruti Suzuki India R C Bhargava

"I am going to do it, whether you like it or not. I will bulldoze. Petrol, diesel banaane walon kaa band-baajaa bajaanaa hai (We will take the makers of petrol/diesel engine vehicles to task)," Gadkari had said.

Bhargava has, however, said before implementing the shift to clean technology, the government should try and build consensus among various segments of the auto industry.

According to him, the automobile industry has an association which represents two-wheelers, cars and commercial vehicles, and the government should try to address their concerns before arriving at any decision. "The way out is not easy," Bhargava has been quoted as saying in the ET report.

According to a report published in Firstpost earlier this week, electric cars are still too expensive to make sense in India. The report states that the upfront cost of an “affordable” electric car is still just the US average for a new car (which is mighty expensive compared to the average price of a new car in India).

In fact, Tesla CEO Elon Musk noted a few weeks ago that Tesla’s entry into India was going to be delayed by local production requirements here.

However, it has to be remembered that globally there has been push towards electric vehicles due to heightening environmental concerns over increased use of fossil fuels.

On Sunday, China, which is aggressively pushing clean energy, said it would end sales of fossil-fuel-run vehicles "in the near future". The country, the biggest automobile market globally, is planning to set a timetable to phase out vehicles running on diesel and petrol in push for electric vehicles.

However, a report in Bloomberg quoted an official at Chery Automobile Co as saying that the ban deadline can be after 2040.

“The implementation of the ban for such a big market like China can be later than 2040. That will leave plenty of time for everyone to prepare,” the report quoted the official as saying.

In July, the UK and France had announced that they would ban sales of all cars and vans running on petrol and diesel from 2040.

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Updated Date: Sep 12, 2017 13:32:11 IST


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