German luxury car maker Mercedes-Benz expects 25 per cent of its sales in India to come from electric vehicles in the next five years, a senior company official said on Wednesday.
The company’s Indian arm, Mercedes-Benz India will be launching three electric vehicles in the next four months as part of the strategy to accelerate its electric mobility journey in the country.
Under the plan, the company launched its all-electric performance luxury sedan, Mercedes-AMG EQS 53 4MATIC, with a price starting at Rs 2.45 crore (all India ex-showroom prices) on Wednesday. It will launch the locally assembled all-electric sedan EQS 580 next month followed by seven-seater electric SUV, EQB around November.
“We are very optimistic and we are bullish to look at around, say 25 per cent of sales in the next five years (from EVs),” Managing Director & CEO, Mercedes-Benz India Martin Schwenk told PTI here.
He further said, “Whether it comes early or later, nobody knows but two years ago, I would not have had the guts to make that statement.”
The company had sold a total of 11,242 units in 2021, while in the first half of 2022 it registered sales of 7,573 units.
With Tesla registering phenomenal growth over a year, the electric vehicle (EV) shipments grew 79 per cent year-on-year (YoY) in the first quarter of 2022 to reach 1.95 million units, says a new report.
According to market research firm Counterpoint, of these, battery electric vehicles (BEVs) accounted for 73 per cent and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) for the rest.
"With EVs comprising just 12 per cent of the total passenger vehicle shipments during the first quarter of 2022, there is a lot of scope for expansion. Fresh players are entering the market to benefit from the opportunity," Senior Research Analyst Soumen Mandal, said in a statement.
"To counter new entrants, existing players are using leading-edge technologies to have improved battery, superior IVI system, and higher levels of ADAS in their EV models as major selling points," Mandal added.
Tesla is currently the global EV market leader. The company's shipments grew 68 per cent YoY in the first quarter and are expected to cross 1.3 million units by the end of 2022.
BYD Auto emerged as China's top EV seller during the first quarter. Its EV shipments increased by a whopping 433 per cent YoY to reach more than 0.28 million units.
China remained the market leader in EV shipments, followed by Europe and the US. China's EV shipments increased 126 per cent YoY in the first quarter of 2022 to reach more than 1.14 million units from just 0.5 million units in the first quarter of 2021.
Herbert Diess, the current chairman of the board of management of the German motor vehicle manufacturer Volkswagen Group, has said that the carmaker will take the lead over Elon Musk's Tesla by 2025.
During a meeting at the company's headquarters in Germany, Diess said that Tesla will lose its strength trying to ramp up two gigafactories -- one in Austin, Texas and the other in Grunheide, Germany, reports the Daily Mail.
He sees this as an opportunity to take the lead, as Volkswagen is running at full capacity.
"Elon must simultaneously ramp up two highly complex factories in Austin and Grunheide -- and expand production in Shanghai. That will cost him strength," he told workers on Tuesday, as first reported by Financial Times.
"We have to seize this opportunity and catch up quickly -- by 2025 we can be in the lead," he added.
Diess has had his sights set on Tesla for quite some time -- earlier this year he said Volkswagen is capable of selling more electric vehicles than its rival by 2025.
During the presentation, Diess also mentioned that Tesla is weakening and then presented a slide with a meme that showed actor Jason Momoa representing Volkswagen creeping up behind fellow actor Henry Cavill cast as Tesla.
Diess and Musk are friendly outside of the EV race, but the German executive continually notes Tesla as Volkswagen's biggest rival.
Volkswagen sold 4,52,900 electric vehicles worldwide in 2021, while Tesla sold 9,30,422. It is listed fourth when it comes to electric car companies and fifth among the largest EV companies.
In a first such case involving an electric car in India, a Tata Nexon EV caught fire in Mumbai and the company was investigating the incident.
The EV car fire incident was reported from Vasai West (near Panchvati hotel) in Mumbai late on Wednesday, and the video of the Tata Nexon engulfed in fire went viral on social media.
The company said in a statement that "a detailed investigation is currently being conducted to ascertain the facts of this isolated incident".
"We will share a detailed response thereafter. We remain committed to the safety of our vehicles and their users," it added.
Tata Nexon EV is the highest selling electric car in India and at least 2,500-3,000 cars are being sold every month in the country.
The company has so far sold over 30,000 Nexon EVs.
According to the video, the owner of the car charged his Nexon EV with a normal slow charger installed at his office.
After driving about 5 km towards his house, he heard some weird sounds from the car and saw flashes of warnings on the dashboard which alerted him to stop the vehicle and get out of the car, media reports said.
Later, firefighters were seen spraying water on the burning Nexon EV.
"This is a first incident after more than 30,000 EVs have cumulatively covered over 1 million km across the country in nearly four years," said the company.
Several electric two-wheelers have caught fires owing to battery explosions in the country, leading the government to launch a probe into the incidents involving EV makers such as Ola Electric, Pure EV, Jitendra EV Tech, Ather Energy and Okinawa.
Promise of hydrogen in the transition to a net-zero emissions future is fraught with challenges in production, storage, and utilisation and including disaster resilience of infrastructure at the current nascent stage can yield exponential benefits, a perspective paper released on Friday said.
"A cogent perspective on disaster and climate resilience of the hydrogen value chain with its infrastructure systems, sub-systems, components and assets is conspicuous by its absence in the current discourse," said the perspective paper on 'The Resilience Imperative: Forward Thinking on Hydrogen Infrastructure' released on the last day of the International Conference on Disaster Resilience Infrastructure here.
The conference was organised by the Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (CDRI), a global multi-stakeholder partnership of national government, UN agencies, programmes, multilateral development banks, financing mechanisms, private sector, academic and knowledge institutions, committed to working with various stakeholders to promote the resilience of infrastructure globally in the changing climatic conditions.
"There is a clear need to recognise and understand the vulnerabilities in the value chain including dependence on renewable energy sources in the context of changing climate, the impact of hydrogen production on available natural resources, mainly water, need for investing in specialized transport infrastructure among others," the paper said, and suggested: "Including disaster resilience of infrastructure in the discourse could yield exponential benefits if incorporated at this nascent stage of the hydrogen economy."
The organisers said the perspective paper is based on the practical inputs from different stakeholders globally and secondary theoretical insights from secondary literature review on the importance of taking a holistic approach to the resilience of infrastructure for driving the hydrogen economy and to introduce future programmatic offerings by CDRI.
"A global energy transition is underway. The drivers of this transition include equitable access, security and cleaner forms of energy to address climate change. Across several countries, hydrogen is likely to form a critical pillar of this transition. Hydrogen offers a green carbon-neutral alternative to generate electricity as well as power transport and industry. The report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Report on Mitigation of Climate Change released in April 2022 specifically refers to the role of hydrogen as an energy source for heating, transport and heavy industry," said Kamal Kishore, India Co-chair, CDRI executive committee and Member Secretary, National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) in the foreword of the report.
"The paper underscores the complexities of hydrogen infrastructure globally, while reinforcing the importance of resilience as we transition to renewable energy sources. It is our hope that this paper influences planners and decision makers and serves as a resource for all stakeholders on a transition to a clean and resilient future," Veena Reddy, co-chair CDRI from 2022-2024 as a representative of the US, added.
Ola Electric has grabbed the top spot in the fast-growing electric vehicle (EV) market in India, in just five months of launching its first e-scooter.
According to the government's Vahan portal data, Ola registered 12,689 e-scooter units in April, higher than the previous segment leader, Hero Electric.
Ola registered 39 per cent growth in April over the previous month.
At second spot, Okinawa Autotech registered about 10,000 e-scooters while Hero Electric registered 6,571 units to be placed third.
"Ola market share: No.1! We're shaking up the incumbents and vested interests. They better focus on their products rather than fake narratives against us! Customers and markets have voted for facts and truth. We're just getting started," tweeted Ola Founder and CEO Bhavish Aggarwal.
Ola is also gearing up to launch its e-scooters in global markets, and has revealed plans to launch an electric car by 2024.
Toyota will launch its first full-electric vehicle (EV) in May that starts from $42,000 and offers superior power efficiency performance and sufficient cruising range for practical driving.
Called bZ4X BEV (battery electric vehicle), the base model of the electric car has an estimated EPA range of 405 kms - around the same mileage as the $33,500 Chevy Bolt EUV.
The "limited" all-wheel-drive version of the SUV starts at $48,780.
"Toyota is striving to achieve innovation in all areas including the interior, styling, driving sensation, and performance with the aim of creating exciting cars where all passengers can share an enjoyable time and space," the company said in a statement.
In Japan, Toyota will commence the first phase by accepting applications for the first 3,000 units on May 12 and anticipates the second phase of applications in early autumn. A total of 5,000 units for production and sales are planned for the first year, said the company.
The bZ4X has a "delivery, processing and handling fee of $1,215."
A BEV-dedicated platform, a first for Toyota, was developed with Subaru based on the e-TNGA philosophy to achieve attractive, smooth, intuitive driving performance, not just for a BEV, but for any car, as well as the off-road performance of an authentic SUV, said the company.
Toyota Safety Sense, as well as a body structure that can respond to collisions from all directions, a battery pack that contributes to ensuring protection performance in the event of a collision, and other safety features have been adopted in the pursuit of a BEV that can be driven with peace of mind.
Union Minister for Road Transport & Highways, Nitin Gadkari on Thursday in the Lok Sabha said that India has registered overall 162 percent growth in the sales of electric vehicles this year.
Responding to a question during Question Hour, Gadkari informed the house that on a year-over-year basis, the sales have risen. He said that category-wise, two-wheeler sales have increased by more than five times at 423 percent, three-wheelers by 75 percent, four-wheelers by 238 percent, and buses by 1,250 percent.
Union Minister informed the house that a total 10,95,746 electric vehicles were registered in India with 1,742 charging stations operable as of March 13 this year.
Talking about the battery swapping policy, Gadkari said out of the total, around 85 percent Lithium Iron battery is being manufactured in India. "We have fixed standards in the battery. If any manufacturer is not doing as per the fixed standard, action will be taken against them", said Gadkari on the question of the charging capacity of the battery.
Gadkari said that for charging electric vehicles, our priority is to use green energy. He said that the government's policy is to entertain all-new research, giving opportunities to new startups, by which we can establish appropriate technology which is more convenient and economically viable for the consumers.
"The NHAI is developing charging and amenities at every 40 km and we are trying to use solar and wind power for that", said the Transport Minister.
Electric car maker Tesla is reportedly recalling 578,607 vehicles over a potential issue with the Boombox feature.
As per the document by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), some of Boombox's features may result in vehicles not being compliant with pedestrian warning standards.
The recent "recall" currently affects 2020-2022 Tesla Model S, 2020-2022 Tesla Model X, 2017-2022 Tesla Model 3, and 2020-2022 Tesla Model Y, reports Teslarati.
The affected vehicles are equipped with external speakers that allow them to play varying sounds when they are in motion.
Tesla's Boombox feature is also played through the vehicles' external speakers.
According to the NHTSA's document, Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 141 (FMVSS 141) outlines performance requirements for pedestrian alert sounds for hybrid and electric vehicles.
It should be noted that the standard also prohibits manufacturers from altering or modifying the sounds emitting capability of a vehicle's pedestrian warning system (PWS).
Teslas operating with firmware version 2020.48.25 and later can stop sounds through their PWS speaker when they are parked or in motion using Boombox.
Unfortunately, while Boombox and Tesla's PWS system are mutually exclusive sounds, sounds emitted using Boombox, which are customizable, could be construed to obscure or prevent the PWS from complying with FMVSS 141 when the vehicle is in motion, the report said.
Boombox has been in Tesla's vehicles since December 24, 2020, when the feature was rolled out as part of the 2020 Holiday Update.
The Indian government has turned down a demand of tech billionaire Elon Musk's electric vehicle (EV) company Tesla for tax breaks to import electric cars, saying rules already allow bringing in partially-built vehicles and assembling them locally at a lower levy, Bloomberg reported on Friday.
"We looked at whether the duties need to be re-jigged, but some domestic production is happening and some investments have come in with the current tariff structure," Vivek Johri, Chairman of the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC), was quoted as saying in an interview with Bloomberg.
"So, it is clear that this is not a hindrance," Johri added.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi's administration has encouraged Tesla to produce locally, while Musk wants India to lower taxes -- as high as 100 per cent on imported EVs -- to enable the company to first sell vehicles built elsewhere at competitive prices.
However, it levies import duties of between 15 and 30 per cent on parts shipped for assembly in the nation.
Recently, a report said that Musk, who has been trying to launch Tesla in India for the past couple of years, is still haunted by the "key challenges" at the government's end that have grounded his electric cars from running on domestic roads.
Despite the government luring him with various schemes and promises and repeated "come and manufacture/assemble your cars here" calls from the top ministers, Musk is "still working through a lot of challenges with the government," the report had said.
According to industry experts, the main challenge for Tesla to enter the Indian market is import duty.
With a $39,990 global price tag, Tesla Model 3 may remain as an affordable model in the US but with import duties, it would become unaffordable in the Indian market with an expected price tag of around Rs 60 lakh, as per the report.
Tesla vehicles are inexplicably slamming on their brakes for no reason, frightening owners and eliciting over 100 complaints to the federal government in the last three months alone, media reports say.
It has been a persistent issue for the automaker.
Last October, CEO Elon Musk on Twitter said that the company was forced to "roll back" version 10.3 of its Full Self-Driving beta software because of issues with forward collision warnings and phantom braking, reports The Verge.
But since then, the number of complaints about Tesla's braking has spiked.
According to The Washington Post's analysis, reports from Tesla owners about phantom braking to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) rose to 107 complaints in the past three months, compared with only 34 in the preceding 22 months.
"Using adaptive cruise control with autopilot steering (as well as without Autosteer), multiple episodes of severe aphantom breaking (sic)' where the car slams on the breaks (sic) for no apparent reason," a Model Y owner from Sterling, Ill., wrote in a November 16 complaint.
"No other cars around. Flat, clear open freeway," the owner added.
The problem may be traced to the controversial decision last year to remove radar sensors from new Model 3 and Model Y vehicles.
The decision came after Musk publicly expressed a desire to rely on cameras to power the company's advanced driver assistance system.
Tesla has drawn intense scrutiny from safety advocates and regulators for its willingness to allow its customers to test what is essentially an unfinished version of a product that Musk has long promised will lead to fully autonomous vehicles on the road.
Earlier this week, the company was forced to issue a software update to remove an FSD feature that allows cars to perform a "rolling stop", a maneuver in which the vehicle moves slowly through a stop sign without coming to a full stop.