Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Mercedes-Benz plans to make e-cars in Pune


PUNE (NEW DELHI): Mercede Benz, the world's top luxury carmaker, plans to manufacture electric cars in India at its factory at Chakan in Pune. The German auto major, which leads the luxury car market in India, feels that the country will emerge as one of the key market for electrics in the coming years, in line with the government's focus on non-combustion technologies as well as efforts to tackle the rising pollution across top cities.

"As the Indian market moves towards electrics, we will be investigating local manufacturing here. As part of our long-term perspective (on India), we want to manufacture here," Mercedes-Benz India VP (sales & marketing) Michael Jopp told "When it happens, we would certainly manufacture them at our plant in Chakan, alongside the combustion engine vehicles."

The company - which drove in S63 AMG coupe at Rs 2.55 crore (ex-showroom, Delhi) - has been taking a closer look at the Indian government's electric vehicle policy as it firms up its plans for the segment. Jopp, however, said that there are still "challenges" that remain to be sorted out before local manufacturing can begin. These include provision of an "eco-system" from the government's side, that would include having a robust charging infrastructure to power the electric vehicles.

Also, the government should have a lenient import duty for the clean cars before they achieve sufficient volumes to encourage companies invest in local manufacturing. "For a certain period, the import duty on electric vehicles should be lowered. This would prompt us to launch them soon at reasonable prices."

Mercedes, part of the Daimler Group, will start global sales of a new electric sub-brand 'EQ' from next year and this will see the launch of a strong line-up of new clean-energy vehicles. Plans to make electric vehicles in India by a large and sophisticated manufacturer like Daimler will strengthen the government's efforts to encourage companies to invest in cleaner technologies.


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