Come December 5, 2019, MG Motor India will take the covers off its second product for India – the ZS EV. As the ‘EV’ in the name makes clear, the model will be a pure-electric one, with motive power coming from an electric motor deriving juice from a battery pack. The ZS EV arrives at a time when India’s carmakers seem divided on the next step of electrification – in essence, hybrids vs full-EVs. Weighing in on the debate, Rajeev Chaba, president and managing director, MG Motor India, was of the view that all stakeholders need to keep the end result in mind. Speaking to Autocar India, Chaba said, “I think one particular technology is not going to provide the perfect solution. We all will welcome a technology agnostic solution to meet your CAFE norms as well as to take care of the environment. Our only request to the government would be to provide clarity for the long term. We cannot keep switching from A to B technology (EVs to hybrids) in such a short timeframe. The government should give different alternatives and the company should choose whatever suits them best.”
While future emission and efficiency targets are in place, the government has not had a consistent long-term plan for electrification. From toying with the idea of pushing for full-electrics by 2030 on one hand, to leaving EVs for personal use outside the ambit of subsidies under FAME II on the other, the government seems to have had a change of heart along the way.
Interestingly enough, the MG ZS SUV is also sold in petrol-electric form abroad, and the version could be a possibility for India at a later stage too. However, with the withdrawal of subsidies on hybrids, the case to bring a strong hybrid to India isn’t all that strong. Hybrids were included under the FAME I scheme, before they were placed under the highest tax slab of 28 percent under GST in 2017.