Hyundai bringing a Plug-In Hybrid to India

India never did embrace the hybrid. Even the best-selling Toyota Prius hasn’t been able to make headway in that market, with only 167 units...

India never did embrace the hybrid. Even the best-selling Toyota Prius hasn’t been able to make headway in that market, with only 167 units sold since it was launched there in 2010 until March this year (you’ll realise why later). However, the country’s second largest automaker, Hyundai, thinks it’s time to give it a try, and there has been whispers of it bringing the upcoming Ioniq to India next year.

Hyundai designed the Ioniq to accommodate three different powertrains – a hybrid, a plug-in hybrid and an all-electric version. The plug-in variant, which is the only one India will be getting, is powered by a 104bhp 1.6-litre 4-cylinder engine paired with a 45kW motor, which in turn is powered by a 8.9kWh Li-ion polymer battery; all these mated to a 6-speed dual clutch transmission. The car has an all-electric range of 50km.

Looking at the car’s outward design, it is clearly meant to rival the Prius (both share the K-tail silhouette) but with slightly more conventional styling (the Hyundai features an elongated hexagonal grille).


There are a few reasons why hybrid cars have not sold well in India in the past – mainly because they are CBU units and the subsequent high import duties make them very expensive; the maintenance cost of a hybrid is also more than a conventional fuel-powered equivalent. But the Indian government is trying to encourage the adoption of greener vehicles by introducing the Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Hybrid and Electric vehicles in India (FAME India) scheme in April 2015 to, well, the name is self-explanatory. And the Hyundai Ioniq is bound to benefit from the up to Rs 1.38 lakh (US$2,000) incentive that the scheme offers for green cars.

The price of the Hyundai Ioniq in India has yet to be announced, but the Prius goes for about Rs 39 lakh…that’s about USD58,000 (now you know why no one in their right mind would buy a Prius in India), which places it firmly albeit awkwardly in the “luxury” car segment. Come on, India…China has already passed the half million plug-in hybrids mark in March this year.

There is, however, a low-cost Suzuki Swift hybrid expected in 2017 too, and it will be priced at only Rs 7 to Rs 8 lakh. So, if any hybrid is going to conquer the Indian market, it will be this one from Maruti Suzuki.


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