Features/ Blogs/ Hybrids vs EVs: The Indian Battle!

Hybrids vs EVs: The Indian Battle!

The global automotive market is in a curious situation. You have legacy German brands trying to hold on to the ICE cars, the New-age Chinese brands with their arsenal of EVs, and then there are brands like Toyota playing both these games and a third option, Hybrids. Now, what are hybrids? Hybrids are the balance between your EVs and the ICEs. It has both an electric and a petrol-powered powertrain. These have way better mileage than ICE cars but do not come at high upfront costs like the EVs. We were curious about how hybrids stack up against EVs, especially in the Indian market. Here is what we found:

Hybrids Rising Fast, EV adoption Slow

Let's start with the sales numbers and the situation in India. Hybrid Electric Vehicles (HEVs) saw a 38% growth, with the total numbers hitting 22,389 and a 2.1% market share compared to a decline of 0.2% in EVs with a total number of 27,242. If we go by the estimates of Jato Dynamics, Plug-in hybrids will grow by 13% in the first fiscal quarter. This means people are accepting the hybrid option more than the Electric one. 

The situation is similar in the global market, too, where hybrid vehicles are seeing better sales figures than EVs. The situation is especially dire in the U.S., where sales of hybrids have outperformed EVs for some months now. For example, according to Morgan Stanley, hybrid sales grew five times faster than EV sales in February. 

Why Hybrids Make Sense 

There are many reasons why hybrids make a better choice than EVs in the current scenario. 

First, they offer a transitory and efficient solution to moving from ICE vehicles to EVs. With EV technology in its initial stages, reliability concerns and high prices have hampered EV growth. In such a scenario, hybrids are lighter on customers' wallets and don't pollute as much as traditional ICE vehicles. 

Second, Hybrid vehicles significantly boost fuel efficiency. They can run on electric-only, ICE-only, or combined mode, which gives them a 40-50% better fuel economy. They also don't have very high operating costs. 

Third, Hybrids have lower acquisition costs than EVs. Even after the 5% GST on EVs and 43% GST on hybrids, the overall cost of hybrid cars is lower than that of EVs. 

How Brands are Approaching the Situation 

Toyota has stood out as the front-runner regarding hybrid vehicles with its advanced tech. It has been claimed that HEVs are one of the technologies that can help reduce the reliance on fossil fuels while also reducing the carbon footprint. Toyota has collaborated with Suzuki in India to launch multiple Hybrid vehicles, like the Camry, Innova Hycross, and Urban Cruiser Hyryder.

Hyundai and its subsidiary Kia, which form a substantial share of the Indian automotive market, have also introduced EVs in India in the form of the Kona, Ioniq 5 and the Kia EV6. While Hyundai planned to focus only on EVs, recent reports have shown a change in its approach. If the reports are believed, Hyundai plans to launch hybrid SUVs by 2026-27 while continuing their EV with ans. Considering they already have hybrid tech in the global market, it should not be that complicated for them to bring it to India. 

On the other hand, Tata Motors has taken a completely different approach by focusing more on Electric and CNG vehicles. This has elevated them to the top player when it comes to EVs in India. It has yet to jump on the hybrid bandwagon, sticking to the EV transition approach. 

This Tata approach is shared by the other giant Indian automaker in the market, Mahindra. Mahindra has also gone all out with EVs in focus, currently selling the XUV400 and working on multiple future EV models like the BE.05, BE.07, BE.RALL-E, XUV.e8, XUV.e9 and the Thar.e.

Would you prefer a hybrid or an EV for your next car?

For more such articles, click here.

TopGear Magazine July 2024