Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The Age of the Hybrid?

Honda recently offered a slash in their new Civic Hybrid model. Though not all are sure if it was a publicity move or an inventory clearing sale, I believe with good mileage figures and a growing concern on how green everyone should be, hybrid cars will see an increase in prominence in the Indian roads.

The Indian market is price sensitive. Be it an industrialist who is buying a Rolls Royce or a car enthusiast pining for a BMW, the inevitable question remains: "What is the mileage?". This has led to a slew of Diesel cars in the market . Though economic to us, it still fails against the 'green' parameter.

The other competitor to hybrids are the all-electric vehicles which may be termed greener (assuming that the cost of production, battery is far less harmful than the actual emissions), they lack in range, ability to quickly recharge (which seems to be a 5 minute affair for it's counterparts) and the lack of accessible recharge locations (do you think at the current electricity cuts).

The hybrid vehicles usually offer dual modes which combines the benefit of being green (to an extent), offer great mileage along with the ability to refuel using popular modes quickly. Maruti and Hyundai have already started offering a less greener dual option: CNG and petrol to the consumer which guarantees fewer paise / km.

So, hybrids, though being more expensive caters to all the other needs. The government can, to encourage this, offer to reduce the import duty for such cars as, in general, they help the environment much better than the other vehicles on the read.

So Toyota... are you listening?

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