Hyundai Motor India introduced its Kona Electric in the domestic market on July 9, 2019; and is seeing good market response for the five-seater monocoque electric vehicle (EV).
Even though Hyundai had dispatched 25 units of the Kona Electric to its select 15 dealerships across 11 cities in June to stock their inventory just before the launch, the carmaker shipped 17 cars in July and 88 more (its highest yet) in August to take the total sales tally of the electric crossover to 130 units in less than three months since its launch. The Korean carmaker had claimed 152 bookings for the CKD model at the electric car's launch.
The increase in buyer interest in the model could be attributed to the fact that while the Kona was initially launched at a Rs 25.30 lakh (ex-showroom) price tag, it later saw a downward revision to Rs 23.71 lakh as a result of the GST reduction for EVs proposed by the government in the FY2020 Union Budget.
This Rs 1,59,000 price correction came after the GST slab on EVs was revised from 12 percent to 5 percent (lowest slab) in the Indian government’s attempt to push electric mobility in the country. Moreover, states like Telangana, Maharashtra and more recently, Tamil Nadu have come up with their own EV policies, offering dollops of incentives to buyers – such as 100 percent exemption of road tax on EV adoption. As a result, the demand for the Hyundai Kona Electric is only set to see a further increase.
While it is too expensive a proposition for ride sharing companies such as Ola and Uber to incorporate into their fleets, corporate employee transportation companies – such as Lithium Urban Technologies – are toying with the idea of including Kona Electrics in their all-EV fleets in Delhi, Pune, Hyderabad and Bengaluru.
In an earlier statement by SS Kim, MD and CEO, Hyundai Motor India, he said “We welcome the GST Council’s historic decision to reduce the GST on EVs from 12 percent to 5 percent and on EV chargers from 18 percent to 5 percent. The tax benefit will help create an ecosystem that will encourage faster mass adoption of EVs in our society.”
Hyundai mass-market small EV in the works
While the Kona Electric is a halo product from Hyundai, which is also aimed at determining its technological capabilities when it comes to EV technology, the company is looking at introducing a mass-market ‘small EV’ being developed specifically for India with collaboration of the Indian and Korean design centres.
This is part of Hyundai’s global road map of introducing 25 EVs by 2025, and Kim previously told our sister publication, Autocar Professional, that Hyundai India aims to bring quite a few of those to India.
Investment into localised battery manufacturing is also on the cards, so Hyundai Motor India is looking to invest into a completely new battery manufacturing plant in India as well.