German luxury carmaker BMW aims to introduce multiple models to lead the charge in the electric vehicle segment in the country, said a top company official.
President of BMW India Vikram Pawah told ET customer acceptance of electric vehicles has been better than expected and the company expects 10% of its demand to come from such models by the end of the next calendar year. “Electromobility is a new space that is developing. BMW Group wants to take the lead in the luxury space,” he said.
BMW India has sold out the allocated batches of SUV iX and an all-electric MINI for the year. The company Thursday launched a third offering midsize electric sedan i4 priced at Rs 69.90 lakh (ex-showroom). “I was really surprised by the phenomenal adoption of electric vehicles. The two products we launched earlier sold out in no time,” said Pawah.
Globally, BMW is set to introduce 25 electric vehicles by 2023. Nearly half of them – the full electric ones – could be launched in India provided the current incentives continue and adequate charging infrastructure is set up across the country, he said. At present, the government levies GST on electric vehicles at a reduced rate of 5%. The tax concession needs to be continued to encourage consumers to transition, and for automakers to plan more products.
Pawah said the adoption of any new technology in the premium space is much faster. “Our customers don’t want to go for a compromise. They want the latest technology. The way the trends are, and with the i4 launched today, I expect 10% of the demand to come from EVs by the end of next year.”
Pawah said the company eventually wants to assemble electric vehicles in the country but cannot share a timeline for it. “Every model has a threshold for localization. And then that, investments need to return based on volumes. Basic volume development, we make those decisions every year,” he explained.
Meanwhile, the company is investing heavily in setting up charging infrastructure. BMW India claimed it has already put in place 50 DC fast chargers across 34 cities in the country – the largest for any luxury carmaker.
Overall, Pawah said the government’s target to realize 30% of new car sales from EVs is ‘quite achievable.’ Policy measures are in place by means of lower tax rates on electric vehicles and the production linked incentive schemes for auto, auto parts and batteries. If the government were to consider lowering import duties for a limited time or a specified number of units on such a new technology, it can fast-track adoption, he said.
Separately, Pawah said demand momentum in the local market remains strong, with sales growing by 36% till April 2022. The company has pending orders for 2000 units.
To further strengthen its presence in the country, BMW India has planned for launch a total of 19 models in the four-wheeler segment this year. BMW Group India sold 8,876 passenger vehicles (BMW and MINI) in 2021.