A Micro-Hybrid Year for Autos in India

Micro-hybrid technology seen as becoming more prominent in India in coming year.

Published: 01-Jan-2009

Imagine a system where you are stuck at a traffic light and switch off your engine, but keep the air-conditioner on and the stereo playing. And then when you slip into gear as the lights turn green the engine starts seamlessly! No sputtering or tension of the engine failing to start.

Pawan Goenka, Chief Executive Officer, Mahindra Automotive, worked closely on hybrid vehicles while he was in the US over a decade ago. He feels that the aforementioned micro-hybrid technology will become prevalent in many vehicles sold in India by late 2009. And Mahindra has taken a lead installing it in their Scorpio and Bolero utility vehicles earlier this year. Goenka says if the first batch of vehicles does well, the technology will make it across all vehicles that the group makes.

Full-fledged hybrids have not been that successful in India. Honda's attempt with the Civic Hybrid was a sales disaster and the company had to slash prices by Rs 7 lakh to get rid of the stock. The problem is that hybrid vehicles in India have to be imported and thus face the punitive taxes that are levied on Completely Built-Up (CBU) vehicle imports.


For more than 20 years, Porsche has paid annual fines totaling $57 million for failing to meet the federal corporate average fuel economy standard. In 2006, it was fined $3 million for its fuel-thirsty Cayenne and $1.6 million for its cars.

The 2009 model will be the first small SUV to use the powerful new hybrid system GM recently unveiled in its large SUVs and pickups.

The newly developed full parallel hybrid system will consist primarily of the battery unit positioned in the luggage compartment, the power electronics, and the hybrid module between the engine and transmission comprising an additional clutch and the electric motor.


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