India’s plan to boost electric vehicle production has received a massive blow as Ford India has vetoed its decision to participate in the Electric Vehicle Consortium, reports Mint.
The consortium of automobile companies, is a joint effort of the Indian government and the lobby group Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM). The government has invited automobile manufacturers to develop a supplier base for critical hybrid and electric vehicle components in the country.
It had further planned to support the consortium members in building six electric and hybrid vehicles. And it has recently also invited Tesla to setup its battery-manufacturing plant or ‘Gigafactory’ in India.
The government’s ambitious plan was planned to kick off on July 15th, but it has now been delayed following Ford’s exit from the consortium.
Sources — who demanded anonymity — familiar with the development now report that Ford has vetoed its earlier decision and withdrawn from the programme. One of the source says that,
The direction that has come from the headquarters suggests that the programme is financially unviable and Ford India should rather focus on strengthening its financial and sales performances.
The source further adds that Ford has been brought into the mix of the local automobile makers, to add a global know-how player to the consortium. Fiat India had earlier expressed interest in becoming a part of this expansion effort, but had to back out on the advice of its parent. The American automobile maker reportedly backed off the alliance due to the Indian unit’s feeble performance, which is proven false by the disruptive sales of its SUV EcoSport.
Ford is now instead of focusing on electric mobility in India has dropped the much-talked-about B500 platform in India, reports ET. It was planning to develop at its upcoming R&D centre on the outskirts of Chennai to supplement the existing car portfolio.
National Electric Mobility Mission Plan(NEMMP)
The government had setup the consortium in an effort to put 6 million electric and hybrid cars on the road by 2020. Under the FAME (Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Hybrid and Electric Vehicles) and NEMMP programme, the government plans to invest over Rs. 12,000 crore each.
The remaining members of the consortium now include some of India’s top automobile manufacturers including, Maruti Suzuki India Ltd., Mahindra and Mahindra Ltd., Mahindra Reva India Pvt. Ltd and Tata Motors Ltd. As mentioned earlier, these members will focus on the design and development of certain key parts for the development of electric vehicles and build and evaluate roadworthy prototype vehicles as well.
The consortium has earlier planned to finalize the common standards for these components within five months of the launch. It would then be prepared to seek interest for sourcing components by April 2017 and put the first prototypes out by January 2018 and evaluate them by June 2018.
But, the Indian electric(and self-driving) car dream still seems far-fetched and will surely be delayed further seeing the circumstances. Now the question that arises is that — Will the government go ahead with the current consortium members or seek out another foreign automobile maker to lead the team, instead of Ford?