The carmaker will continue to focus on hybrids, despite the government’s clear-cut push for fully electric vehicles. Officials have stated that hybrids are not only an important stepping stone towards full electrification but also ideal at this stage to curb pollution.
“Apart from the high cost of EVs, generating clean energy is also an issue. We still use fossil fuels and coal for generating 70-80 percent of electricity, so the purpose gets lost. With EVs, we are only moving the problem somewhere else,” Lexus India chairman, N Raja said.
The government intends to go all electric by 2030 and this plan has faced a lot of flak from various sections of the auto industry. Hybrid cars are a necessary stepping stone to full battery electrics. "Each has a greater chance of succeeding because this is tied to the cost of the battery and ultimately the cost of the vehicle," a company spokesperson said.
Vince Socco, executive vice president, Lexus Asia Pacific said the Indian government is currently focusing on the desired outcome (of lowering emissions) rather than the technology itself. "By including hybrids in our line-up, we are supporting the government’s move to electrification, but they clearly have focused only on battery electric vehicles as their big bet going forward. And that’s fine, but what we are saying is 'please have a broad definition of electrification'," Socco said.
Lexus was forced to hike prices of its hybrids post GST as they were subject to a tax rate of 43 percent, which had risen from the earlier 30 percent.