Hyundai Motors, the country’s second-largest automobile manufacturer, on Wednesday announced an investment of Rs 7,000 crore in Tamil Nadu to manufacture electric cars.
The announcement was made at the second edition of Global Investors’ Meet here during which the Tami Nadu government expects investments’ pledge to the tune of Rs 2 lakh crore.
Hyundai India, which began its production at its massive plant in Sriperumbudur near Chennai in 1998, announced that the new plant would manufacture ‘KONA’ the company’s first electric car, which is yet to be released. The company also displayed the electric vehicle at the GIM.
The new facility will come up near Hyundai’s existing plant in Irungatukkottai, 50 km from here. Chennai is known as India’s Detroit for it is the home of several automobile majors like Ford, Hyundai, Daimler, Renault Nissan and BMW.
“Hyundai India has so far made Rs 23,900 crore investment in Tamil Nadu – the largest investment by automobile company in the country in a single location. We have invested in Tamil Nadu and only in Tamil Nadu. The company has far made four phases of investment including the latest and all in the state,” B C Datta, Vice President, Hyundai Motor India, said.
He was speaking at a session on the automobile sector in the country, especially in Tamil Nadu. Giving details about the KONA, Datta said the car can travel up to 350 kilometres per charge and the full charge takes just an hour.
“We will manufacture and sell KONA and other electric cars from here in Tamil Nadu. Since electric cars are the future not just in India but across the globe, we will focus on the sector and the latest investment is exclusively for the purpose,” Datta said.
The company also has plans to enhance its production capacity from 700,000 cars to 800,000 cars per annum. When Hyundai launched in India, Datta said, the company was exporting 60 per cent of the vehicles manufactured here and using the remaining 40 per cent for domestic consumption.
As the Indian market grew leap and bounds in the past decade, 60 to 70 per cent of the total production is being used to meet the needs of the domestic market, while only the remaining 30 per cent is being exported.
At a panel discussion, Siddharth Sridharan, Head Business Operations atVolta Charging, which operates largest free electric vehicle charging network in the US, said electric cars are the future and the revolution would begin from this year.
Acknowledging that there are a lot of challenges in keeping pace with continuing innovation, Sridharan said the majority of the vehicles to be used by the people in the next decade would be electric vehicles.
“My prediction is that it would take roughly 10 years for the revolution to succeed. Smartphones were introduced in 2007 and in 2019 I can’t think of my life without smartphone. It will be just like the smartphone revolution,” he said.
“2019 will be for electric cars what 2007 was for smartphones,” he said.