Toyota testing hydrogen fuel cell electric car in India

Last Updated 27 September 2019, 12:04 IST

At a time when the automobile industry is still thinking of developing electric vehicles for the Indian market, Toyota Kirloskar Motor Pvt Ltd (TKML), the Indian subsidiary of Japan’s Toyota Motor Corporation is set to go an extra mile by introducing a hydrogen fuel cell-powered electric car.

The company, which is already selling the fuel cell-powered cars in various countries, is currently testing ‘Mirai’, an all-electric car that draws power from hydrogen fuel cells, on Indian roads, a top Toyota Kirloskar Motor Pvt Ltd (TKML) official said.

“We have powertrains available for all options including plug-in hybrid, electric vehicle and fuel cell vehicles. We are currently testing ‘Mirai’ in India,” N Raja, Deputy Managing Director, TKML told DH.

He said the company will announce a model of its choice on the electric platform closer to the date of launch. The company has commercially launched many of its electric, hybrid, plug-in hybrid and hydrogen fuel cell-powered cars in its home market in Japan as well as in America and the UAE.

“The level of electrification in India will be slow. Even the government has said so. We will work very closely with the government, which needs to be technology agnostic in their approach. Our plan is to strengthen our hybrid car offerings. The taxation on such cars needs to be lower. For us, the path to electrification is through hybrid,” Raja said.

However, he said it is very difficult to sell hybrid cars in India with the current GST rate pegged at 43%.

Mirai uses hydrogen as fuel, which is lighter than air. When used in a fuel cell, it is highly efficient and leaves no carbon emissions behind. Toyota engineers spent decades developing Mirai’s fuel cell powertrain. It operates like a regular passenger car while creating zero emissions, Toyota said on its website.

Last year, only 3,000 electric cars were sold in India. By 2030, electric cars will comprise less than 5% of the total passenger car market, according to Raja. The main reason for such slow progress in adapting electric in India is the lack of infrastructure.

Currently, Toyota sells a wide variety of hybrid cars globally including Aqua, which is its largest selling hatch hybrid.

“Toyota has the core electrification technologies that enable it to develop and introduce various types of electrified vehicles, such as HEVs, BEVs, and FCEVs.

Toyota has provided and will continue to provide optimal electrified vehicles in each country/region based on societal circumstances, regulations, road conditions, and environmental infrastructure,” the company said.

Ready with BS-VI technology

Raja said Toyota is fully geared up to launch BS-VI-compliant vehicles in India ahead of the April 1, 2020 deadline. In fact, the company’s newly launched hatchback, Toyota Glanza, is built on the BS-VI technology.
The car is currently manufactured
by Suzuki at its Gujarat plant for Toyota.

“We are ready for BS-VI rollout as far as petrol engines are concerned. However, diesel is still not made available by the government. All our launch schedules will be firmed up during the first quarter of 2020,” Raja added.

(Published 22 September 2019, 14:40 IST)

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