Kia India’s managing director, Tae-jin Park, told ET that acceptance of electric vehicles (EVs) in the country has been better-than-expected and the company is doubling its efforts to bring its first electric vehicle in the mainstream market by 2025. “Till that time, we want to establish our EV business through the EV6 and EV9,” said Park.
Mainstream automakers – from Maruti Suzuki to Hyundai Motor India and Toyota Kirloskar Motor – have scheduled the launch of EVs in the Indian mass market in 2025, by when charging infrastructure is expected to be more widespread in the country.
Park said India is a very important market for Kia’s EV business. “EV sales in the Indian market are expected to reach an inflection point in three years, when almost all manufacturers will have offerings in the market,” said Park. “We are (also) on our way to launch (a locally made model) by 2025.”
The company said demand for its EV6, launched last year, has been high. Kia had allocation for 100 units of EV6 last year, but had to request the headquarters for more supplies. “India is an important market. Despite shortage in availability of the vehicle globally, headquarters gave us 500 units,” he said.
About 55,000-60,000 EVs were sold last year, accounting for a little over 1% of total number of PVs sold in the country. Park expects this to increase to about 250,000-300,000 units by the end of 2025.
Mid-term, Kia India expects 7% of its sales to come from EVs. The company has the technology for strong hybrids, plug-in hybrids, hydrogen and flex fuel vehicles, and can bring them to the Indian market, if needed, provided there is a business case for the technology.Last year, Kia India’s sales grew 40% to 254,566 units. It said India accounts for 10% of global sales and expects to grow business by at least 10% this year. Kia said it will steer clear of the small-car segment, and continue to focus on utility vehicles.